MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minneapolis Police animal crimes unit seized 15 dogs Wednesday in simultaneous raids on eight homes, as part of a crackdown on a suspected dog fighting operation.
Officers arrested one person as part of the sweep, and seized narcotics and illegal guns as well. They also found dog fighting paraphernalia and a "dog fighting training manual."
Sgt. Lindsay Herron told reporters the dogs, including 5 puppies, were all chained to the ground inside outdoor kennels that were padlocked shut.
"Most of them did not have water. I did not locate food in most of the kennels," Sgt. Herron explained.
"So these dogs are not well cared for. They're cared for -- or they wouldn't be healthy looking dogs -- but they're not well cared for."
Authorities did not reveal the identity of the suspect, or the locations of the kennels, except to say that seven were in Minneapolis and one was in the suburb of New Hope.
The animals are all American Pit Bull Terriers, also known as pit bulls. Animal control officers displayed two of the rescued dogs at the press conference. Those particular dogs appeared to be docile and enjoy interacting with officers.
A veterinarian will determine which of the dogs are considered adoptable, but Sgt. Herron said they're capable of becoming pets under the right conditions.
"They can absolutely have a normal life," she said.
"At this point we go through temperament testing to gauge where the dog is at, and then we'll go from there depending on whether we can find them a home or not."
Sgt. Herron said the raids were of an investigation that stretches back a year and a half. Dog fighting is a felony offense, but if the suspect isn't convicted he may be able to regain possession of his animals.
"This is the type of crime in which the victims can't speak, so it takes time to build a case," Herron said.
She said it was a multi-agency effort that also includes Minneapolis Animal Care, the New Hope Police Dept and Animal Control, the Minn. Dept. of Corrections, the ATF, the USDA, US Marshals Service, and the FBI.
"For the public I would say that if you see a dog that's kept outdoors 24-7, that is minimally maintained, that it's worth giving Animal Care and Control a tip."
Anyone with any information about dog fighting in the Minneapolis area is asked to call the city's tip line at 612-692-TIPS (8477) or text info to 847 411 (Tip 411).
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