AUBURN, Ala. (WAAY) - Hundreds of dogs seized and a dozen people behind bars: A three year investigation busts a massive dog-fighting ring across several states, including Alabama.
Authorities found hundreds of dogs, used in illegal dog-fighting rings in Alabama Mississippi and Georgia.
It was the result of a years-long investigation by the Auburn Police Department, and helped put twelve people behind bars.
"It's a really sad day to me, a sad day of affairs of the state of Alabama," said U.S. Attorney George Beck, Jr. at a press conference Monday morning.
More than 350 dog were seized in what officials are calling the second largest dog-fighting ring bust in U.S. history.
"Law enforcement, state federal and local will coordinate to try and drive out and discourage from this state and surrounding states,” said Beck.
12 people were arrested, and were indicted on felony dog fighting charges.
Authorities also found firearms, drugs and a half million dollars in cash.
"This case is much more than just about the inhumane treatment of these dogs. This is again about our society and the impact that these types of illegal drug activity have within our community,” said a spokesperson from the FBI.
Hundreds of pit bulls were found in horrid conditions, some without food or water, stuck in makeshift houses.
"We commonly see animals that are kept in deplorable conditions, tethered to heavy long chains you know in the middle of wooded areas and open fields, dogs that often have scars and other animal fighting paraphernalia that is indicative of illegal animal fighting,” said Tim Rickey, the ASPCA Vice President.
In one yard alone, rescuers found 114 dogs, sitting in 90 degree heat with no food or water in sight.
"I believe if Dante were alive today and were rewriting the Inferno, that the lowest places in hell would be reserved for those who commit cruelty to our animals and to our children,” said Beck.
A bill, called the animal fighting spectator prohibition act, was re-introduced to congress this spring.
It would make it a federal offense to attend an organized animal fight. That bill has been in committee since April.
A dog fighting ring was busted just this spring right here in north Alabama. Authorities are still trying to find homes for several of the rehabilitated pit bulls. At least nine pit bulls are up for adoption at the Scottsboro animal shelter.
But unfortunately the dogs may have to be put down next week if they can't find homes due to overcrowding at the animal shelter.
If you're interested in adopting one of the dogs, we've posted a link to our website for more information.