Dogs, birds and horses, all in a night's work

Pennsylvania SPCA police officers had a really busy start to the weekend, raiding an illegal stable, a cockfight and an alleged dog fighting ring in Philadelphia overnight Friday. When the dust settled, agents had seized seven dogs, two horses and 58 birds from life-threatening situations.

Here's how it went down:

PSPCA officers obtained warrants for a vacant lot and a house in the 2600 Fletcher Street. Sound familiar? That's the address in the Strawberry Mansion section where officers raided a dilapidated stables and found the rotting carcasses of three horses in 2007. This time two emaciated horses with overgrown hooves were found standing in filth in the dining room of a falling-down row house. (See the full Daily News story here)  

The owner is being cited for lack of veterinary care and unsanitary confinement while the surrendered horses - and a dog found in the manure-soaked basement - are undergoing medical evaluation at the PSPCA. Meanwhile three other horses that were found on a vacant city lot were removed by their owner.

Philadelphia police responded to a call about a cockfight in progress in the 200 block of W. Loudon Street. PSPCA officers at the scene removed 58 birds, including roosters dressed for fighting, hens, parakeets and cockatiels. The birds are being held in protective custody at the PSPCA’s Philadelphia headquarters. The PSPCA also removed cockfighting paraphernalia, including cockfighting DVDs. Fifteen people were arrested and charged with animal cruelty. (See full Daily News story here)

Humane officers also responded to a call in the 900 block of Farson Street: where they found six dogs, several with scars consistent with dog fighting were surrendered to the PSPCA where they are currently under medical evaluation. Three days earlier officers responded to a dogfight in progress and removed eight dogs which are in protective custody. Two puppies removed from the house, however, died.

George Bengal, PSPCA director of investigations, said dog fighting is on the rise in Philadelphia. He said agents are responding to two to three dog fighting cases a week, compared with one or two every few months in the past. The PSPCA urges residents to watch for signs of dog fighting rings: heavy traffic in and out of a house at all hours, numerous dogs kept outside all of the time with heavy chains, dogs with heavy scarring on their faces, front legs and hind quarters and tires or spring poles (large springs with rope attached to an end) hanging from trees.