The Connecticut Department of Agriculture said a judge has given the department custody of eight pit bulls that were seized in Meriden during an investigation into an alleged multi-state dogfighting ring.
A Superior Court judge in Hartford found that the dogs were neglected and cruelly treated and granted ownership of the dogs to the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, according to the department.
On July 31, Connecticut State Police raided the property at 109 Britannia St. in Meriden and seized the eight dogs, which were in cages in the backyard.
Photos: Court Gives State Custody of 8 Pit Bulls Seized During Dogfighting Investigation in Meriden
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According to Attorney General William Tong's office, investigators found what they described as a large makeshift dogfighting ring and turf square stained with what appeared to be animal blood.
A state animal control officer noted that two of the dogs were too aggressive to be safely removed from their cages and examined.
According to court documents, police seized items including leashes, hanging ropes they said are designed to strengthen dogs' jaws and neck muscles, dog treadmills, a bicycle with an attached harness, "break stick" knives that can force a dog's jaw open after bites, a whip, animal scales, electric collars and weighted vests.
Court documents also noted that police found veterinary supplies, including materials that are restricted and only meant to be used by or by order of a licensed veterinarian.
The dogs were in state police custody and Tong had asked that they be placed under permanent custody of the state Department of Agriculture.
Officials from the Department of Agriculture said an independent animal behaviorist is being consulted to evaluate each of the dogs to determine if they can go to other homes.
They said the court is considering the department’s petition for custody of seven dogs seized from Orange during a separate investigating into alleged dogfighting. Those dogs are being held at the Milford Animal Shelter.