A federal investigation of a multi-state dogfighting ring has led to the rescue of 66 dogs and the arrest of nine people. A story in the Asbury Park Press focuses on one of the key players in the ring, Mario Atkinson, and features details of the investigation that led to the arrests and seizures of dogs:
During the probe, investigators found various indications of dog-fighting at properties belonging to the defendants. They included scarred animals, dogs stacked in crates, and paraphernalia, such as dog treadmills, “flirt’’ poles used to increase aggression and build strength in the canines’ jaws, and animal pelts, used to bait the dogs.
At Atkinson’s home on April 4, SPCA officials found 20 pit bulls in crates, and another female dog in a crate with five puppies, plus seven more dogs in individual crates in the basement, near a dog treadmill, according to a complaint filed against him in federal court.
Let’s hope that these abusers, if found guilty, get the kinds of sentences that will make others think twice before they engage in this horrific activity. The 44 dogs rescued in New Jersey are receiving care St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, based in Madison. Hopefully, they can be made available for adoption.