Tuesday, December 10, 2013
KENNEBUNK - Several dogs that were rescued from a suspected dogfighting ring in Ohio arrived in Maine on Thursday, and shelter officials say they hope to find homes for all of the animals.
Kerrie Leclair, director of development for the Animal Welfare Society in Kennebunk, said her shelter took in two American pit bull puppies, named Emma and Hogan, a juvenile pit bull named Peanut, and an adult dog named Edgar.
The Kennebec Valley Humane Society in Augusta took in three pit bulls.
All of the animals showed signs of abuse. "They were timid, submissive and a little nervous," Leclair said Thursday night. "They're in good shape, considering what these dogs have been through."
Leclair said the Humane Society of the United States brought the dogs to Maine.
In August, more than 500 dogs were taken from a suspected large-scale fighting operation in Bloomingdale, Ohio.
Chris Schindler, manager of animal fighting law enforcement for the Humane Society of the United States, said the owner of the property surrendered 200 American pit bull terriers along with 300 other animals, including chickens, roosters, turkeys, boars and reptiles. Schindler said only the dogs were used in fights.
Dogfighting traditionally involves betting and referees, although Schindler could not comment further because the alleged operation in Ohio remains under investigation.
"It's an elaborate, very seedy, underground world," he said.
Schindler said pit bulls are good fighters because their extreme sense of loyalty to their owners can be exploited.
He said the Humane Society has placed more than 100 pit bulls taken from Ohio with shelters across the country, including the ones in Kennebunk and Augusta.
Schindler said dogfighting is common throughout the United States, although it has dwindled in recent years because of stricter enforcement and harsher penalties.
The Humane Society of the United States offers rewards of as much as $5,000 for tips on dogfighting. Its anonymous tip line is 877-TIP- HSUS.
Leclair said the pit bulls that arrived in Maine on Thursday will be quarantined for seven days before being put up for adoption.
Anyone who is interested in adopting a dog can check on the dogs' status on the organization's website: animalwelfaresociety.org.
Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: