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NJ: 5 pit bulls used in dog fighting may get new homes


By Don E. Woods | For NJ.com
on April 01, 2016 at 3:30 PM, updated April 01, 2016 at 5:34 PM

Five pit bulls are named as defendants in a lawsuit, but only so that authorities can find them new homes.

Authorities rescued the pit bulls from the basement of a Vineland home, where they were trained and used for dog fighting.

The New Jersey U.S. Attorney's Office filed a lawsuit on March 28 to turn over ownership of the dogs and turn them over to animal shelters.

The Drug Enforcement Agency was conducting an investigation of a drug trafficker in Camden when they searched several locations on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18.

One of the houses searched by police was a Vineland residence.

Authorities found six pit bulls and evidence of a dog fighting ring, the lawsuit states.

The identity of the homeowner and information about the case was not disclosed in the lawsuit or by the U.S. Attorney's Office because the investigation is ongoing.

The six pit bulls were in plastic shipping crates in the basement. The dogs had scarring, aggression toward other dogs and had musculature similar to other dogs trained for fighting.

Pit bulls are used in dog fighting because of their short hair, compact muscular build and aggressiveness, according to the lawsuit.

In addition to the dogs, authorities also found a treadmill device used to condition the dogs for fighting, suspended ropes that are used to encourage the dogs to bite, weighted collars and veterinary medical equipment and supplies.

Authorities rescued five of the pit bulls — four adults and a puppy. The sixth pit bull was euthanized on March 13 due to his aggressive behavior.

The remaining five pit bulls are being held and cared for at undisclosed locations and were seized by U.S. Department of Agriculture agents.

The U.S. Attorney's Office is required to file the lawsuit, naming the five pit bulls as defendants, in order to seize custody of them. Once the office has custody, the pit bulls will be turned over to animal shelters.

Animal fighting is a felony, according to the Animal Welfare Act, and can lead to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.