PSPCA: Possible dog-fighting house under investigation in East Germantown

Sgt. Wayne Smith, a PSPCA humane law enforcement officer, waits outside a house on Norwood Street near Chelten Avenue for a search warrant. PSPCA took seven dogs and three cats from the house, and an investigation is ongoing. (Morgan Zalot / Daily News Staff)

Police responding to a call for a domestic disturbance in East Germantown Tuesday night instead stumbled upon an animal cruelty case, authorities said Wednesday.

When cops arrived at the scene, on Norwood Street near Chelten Avenue, shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday, a woman pointed out a house on the block and told them it was being used for dog fighting, according to investigators.

Philadelphia police called in humane law-enforcement officers from the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who obtained a warrant to search the house and found seven dogs, a cat and two kittens inside, said Wendy Marano, a spokeswoman for the PSPCA.

Marano said one of the dogs, a pit bull mix, appeared to have injuries consistent with dog fighting. All 10 of the animals were taken by the PSPCA as the investigation continues, Marano said. The cats and the other dogs -- including English bulldogs, mastiff mixes and pit bull mixes -- appeared to be in good condition, she said.

She said officers also found crack and at least one handgun inside the house, and a room that appeared to be set up for dog fighting.

“One bedroom looked like it was set up for animal fighting, with blood on the walls and no furniture,” Marano said. “It was set up to what we’ve seen in past animal-fighting situations.”

An investigation into who owns the animals and who may have been involved with the dog fighting is ongoing, she said.

Philadelphia police said they arrested one man, 36-year-old Shawn Peterson, at the scene. He’s facing drug possession charges and theft charges for a stolen motorcycle also found at the house, authorities said. No charges have been filed in connection with animal cruelty or the gun recovered inside.

Relatives of Peterson at the scene Tuesday night denied that he was involved in dog fighting.

“He’s a good guy. We’re just trying to figure out what’s going on,” a man who identified himself as Peterson’s uncle but declined to give his name said.