Animal cruelty

Dogs Seized From Orange Home as Authorities Investigate Dogfighting Ring

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A multi-state investigation into a dogfighting ring continues. This week police seized several more dogs. The case has taken authorities from New York to Meriden to Orange, and investigators expect it’s far from over.

“We are going to take very strong action against people who engage in dogfighting,” said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong.

It’s a dogfighting ring that investigators say crosses state lines and is one of the biggest Tong says he’s seen.

“It’s at least in two states and growing. The number of dogs for us is up to 15 and growing,” said Tong.

The joint investigation includes law enforcement from New York and Connecticut.

In late July, Connecticut State Police say several state task forces and Meriden Police searched a home on Britannia Street in Meriden. There, they reported removing eight dogs with injuries consistent with dogfighting and found several items associated with the crime including a homemade dogfighting ring.

“A lot of tools that look like they were designed to beat and abuse and hurt dogs,” said Tong.

Two Meriden men and a Bridgeport man were arrested in connection to the investigation in September.

On Tuesday, officials say the investigation took them to a home on Grassy Hill Road in Orange. Authorities seized seven dogs, describing them as tethered within outdoor cages and found in unsanitary conditions. Police say several items taken indicate the dogs were being kept for the purpose of fighting.

Zilla Cannamela is the president of Desmond’s Army Animal Law Advocates and says it’s not a surprise that there’d be a dogfighting ring here because she says it happens everywhere.

“They put these dogs in these horrendous, heinous, torturous positions to have to fight for their lives,” said Cannamela.

Experts say people who hurt animals are more likely to hurt people.

“If you can perpetuate violence upon an animal, you can also perpetuate violence upon humans,” said Cannamela.

And authorities say the investigation is far from over.

“Unfortunately with this sort of thing you pull the thread and as you uncover more evidence, talk to more people, see more evidence of criminal behavior you tend to find more. And so you continue to follow the trail,” said Tong.

Authorities say there’s something we can all do to help, that if we see signs of animal abuse, to not ignore it.

“Animal cruelty is not just a minor thing. It’s not none of your business. It is your business, and if you see evidence of it, you need to call police,” said Tong.

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