Dolton dog-fighting ring broken up by police

December 6, 2012 3:14:55 PM PST
Several people are in custody and being questioned in what investigators call a dog-fighting ring inside a building in Dolton.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says at least seven dogs were rescued from a dog-fighting ring operating in south suburban Dolton. He says a makeshift ring where fights were held was set up inside the building.

Authorities are still trying to piece together the operations of the Dolton dog-fighting ring. Because of their experience, the Cook County Sheriff's police are taking a lead role in the investigation. They say the operations of the ring appear sophisticated and may be an indication of an increase of dog-fighting in the area.

"We've had indications there have been fights here previous," Dart said. "The property is somewhat abandoned and there's no indication that the owner knew about anything going on here."

Authorities busted up the operation Wednesday night around 7 p.m. after someone called police and told them about organized dog fights in the 1500-block of East 142nd Street.

"Officers observed numerous subjects inside the location, what appeared to be dogs fighting," said Dolton Police Department Chief Ronald Burge.

Officers say the roughly 20 people attending the fight scattered, some even running across the Bishop Ford Expressway to escape.

Eventually, eight people were arrested, including six men who tried to evade police by hiding in the building's rafters.

Inside an abandon building at the end of a cul-de-sac, police found a makeshift ring, dog-fighting narcotics, and a treadmill along with three injured dogs, all with various signs of improper care and abuse.

Police found another four dogs outside locked in crates inside vehicles. One was loose inside a car.

Although authorities say the raid is evidence of a slight uptick in dog fighting, Chief Burge says the violence will not be tolerated in his town.

"This hasn't been an ongoing problem. This is new to Dolton, and we're gonna stop it," Burge said. Charges are pending against those in custody. The dogs that were rescued remain at an area Humane Society where they are receiving medical treatment.

Authorities say the animals are "very" aggressive, so it is still unclear if they can be rehabilitated or will have to be destroyed.