Police Seize Pit Bulls, Suspect Dog Fighting

It started out as a simple police call. Garden City police were investigating abandoned cars on a vacant lot this week, but what they uncovered was more upsetting and very dangerous.

Police think it's evidence of a dog-fighting ring, which is illegal in Georgia.

On Tuesday, in a vacant lot on Third Street, police made the disturbing discovery: 13 pit bulls.

"Some of them were chained. Some of them were just laying out," said Chief David Lyons of the Garden City Police Department. "They were in very, very bad condition."

Most of the dogs were emaciated, with little food and no water in sight. Their bodies were raw with dog bites. Even the puppies were in poor shape. At least one died. The rest of the dogs were put down.

Police also found a pig they think was possibly used to rile the dogs up. It was missing part of its ear, huddled in a dirty pen.

"The pictures are hard to look at," said Chief Lyons, "and this was a hard situation to deal with just because of the treatment, the condition the dogs were in. It was deplorable."

In a dog-fighting ring, dogs are deliberately mistreated, even given steroids, to make them meaner. Police said one of the biggest indicators of dog fighting in an area is an increase in the number of stolen pit bulls, especially puppies.

A big worry for police with the location of the dogs in Garden City is how accessible the lot was. Lyons said, now that school's out, it would be very easy for a child to wander back there and find themselves in a potentially deadly situation.

"This kind of looked like a little fort area back there," he said. "It would have been very attractive for kids to wander in to, exploring, and what's really bad about that many dogs is one incites the other one and they become like a pack and a kid could have gotten in there and gotten trapped and would have had no way to escape because of the number of dogs that were in there."

Many neighbors never knew the dogs were there, including Georgia Rep. Bob Bryant.

"I couldn't believe that many dogs were back there," he said. "I was shocked to hear there were 13 dogs there."

"It's really wrong to fight dogs like that, to the death," added Dwyne Macon who lives nearby. "People shouldn't do things like that but it happens."

Garden City police want to make sure it doesn't happen here again.

"It's cruel. It's inhumane and we're not going to tolerate it," said Chief Lyons.

Police arrested a woman who lived next door on three counts of cruelty to animals. They seized three pit bulls from her backyard. She has not been charged in connection with the 13 other dogs.

Dog fighting is illegal, so police are very serious about shutting the ring down. If you have any information about what happened, call Garden City Police Department at 912.966.7770 or CrimeStoppers at 912.234.2020.

You can also contact CrimeStoppers online:
click here.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com