Police: 7 dogs removed from Orange home were part of dog fighting syndicate that spanned from CT to NY
Police say the seven dogs seized from a home in Orange this week due to suspected dog fighting and animal cruelty are connected to an illegal dog fighting syndicate that spans Connecticut and New York.
News 12 is told the dogs lived in outdoor kennel structures in filthy conditions and were tied up inhumanely in their cages.
"When we were there, the detectives — they found materials that were consistent with dog fighting," says Connecticut State Police Sgt. Christine Jeltema.
It's the second recent raid in Connecticut linked to a massive interstate dog fighting ring in Suffolk County, New York. Over the summer, law enforcement there announced they arrested 10 people and rescued 89 dogs.
The number included eight dogs from a property in Meriden where detectives also seized shock collars, weighted harnesses, whips and scales. They also discovered a homemade dog fighting ring.
"They're tortured. They're tortured into fighting," says the president of Desmond's Army Animal Law Advocates Zilla Cannamela. "A lot of times they're very thin, they're not fed well to keep them sharp, to keep them hungry."
The Meriden bust led to the arrests of Jose Rivera and Nelson Rivera, of Meriden, and Getulio Vargas Macedo, of Bridgeport. Criminal charges are expected against the owner of the dogs in Orange.
The dogs are now in the care and custody of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture and are being housed at Milford Animal Control. They're considered evidence in this case.
State police tell News 12 that many had scars and wounds indicative of dog fighting.
"They're being seen by vets, they’re being evaluated so that that way we can make sure they can live out the rest of their lives as they should," says Jeltema.
The hope is that the dogs can be rehabilitated and then adopted out to good homes.
"They can be just grateful, loving dogs afterwards," says Cannamela.