Another day, another dog fighting bust in Philadelphia. My colleague Peter Mucha reports on today's raid below. Meanwhile, look for the first episode of a new series on America's most notorious dog fighter tonight on BET. Michael Vick returns to the scene of his crimes in the debut of his new reality series at 10 p.m.
(For more on what the Eagles - otherwise known as Philadelphia's newest animal welfare crusaders - are doing to combat dog fighting and pet overpopulation in and around the city click here.)
A dead pit bull, six scarred but alive ones and a cat were removed early this morning from the site of a suspected dog-fighting ring in North Philadelphia. officials say.
A woman was arrested but PSPCA officers did not find the alleged ring operator when they executed a search warrant at 2:30 a.m. in the 2200 block of N. Delhi St.
The woman, who lived at the address, was charged with third-degree felony animal cruelty.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of the suspected operator, whose name was not released as of early this afternoon.
"The area where the fighting ring was found was covered in blood," said George Bengal, PSPCA director of law enforcement. ". . . We are pleased to have shut down this alleged ring and potentially saved many more dogs from this senseless and vicious crime."
The animals were taken to the PSPCA headquarters at 350 E. Erie Ave. to be evaluated. One dog required surgery for injuries apparently from a recent fight.
The cat had no major wounds, but might have faced a horrible fate.
"It would not be uncommon for a cat to be used as a training process as bait," said Nicole Wilson, law enforcement case manager. Cats usually die during such training, she said.
The animals won't be available for adoption before they have recovered from their injuries, are no longer needed as evidence, and have been determined to pose no threat to new owners, Wilson explained.
The investigation could lead to additional arrests and rescues. "It's typical for an operation of this size to have multiple locations," she said. Valuable champion dogs, for example, might be kept at a location separate from other dogs.