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Over 120 dogs rescued from suspected dogfighting operation in New Jersey Featured

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Over 120 dogs rescued from suspected dogfighting operation in New Jersey

(April 5, 2024)— This week the Humane Society of the United States assisted law enforcement with the rescue of over 120 dogs from an alleged dogfighting operation throughout multiple properties in Cumberland County, New Jersey. Humane Rescue Alliance and licensed veterinarians also assisted on-scene. 

Law enforcement officials served search and seizure warrants on multiple properties early in the morning on April 3. Dogs and puppies were found living in barren pens and cages throughout multiple buildings, while others were found shivering in the cold rain in outdoor pens or on heavy chains with little protection from the elements.

Responders observed dogs with significant scarring, as well as untreated wounds. One dog was missing a leg and his remaining front paw was mangled. Several dogs were emaciated, including pregnant and nursing mothers. Many dogs eagerly greeted responders with wagging tails and kisses, while others hunched over and peered reluctantly at the responders.

The team worked late into the evening through cold and rainy conditions to conduct field exams of each animal and remove them from the properties.

“What’s striking is the level of suffering involved in dogfighting contrasted with how sweet and eager for affection these dogs are,” said Janette Reever, animal crimes investigations program manager for the Humane Society of the United States. ”Though they were shivering in the cold rain, these dogs still left their meager shelters to greet us. We are grateful to New Jersey authorities for their hard work and dedication to put a stop to this cycle of suffering.”

Fighting dogs or possessing, training, selling, buying, delivering, receiving or transporting dogs intended for use in dogfighting is a felony offense.

“Situations like this underscore why we continue to advocate for humane laws—this rescue operation wouldn’t be possible without legislation in place to protect animals from cruelty,” said David Grant, New Jersey state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “Thanks to the agencies involved in this rescue, these dogs now have a chance to get the happy lives they deserve.”

Dogfighting causes severe and often fatal injuries and egregious suffering. The dogs used in professional dogfighting operations are specifically bred and conditioned for fighting, which is only the beginning of a lifecycle of abuse and mistreatment. Across the country, the Humane Society of the United States has seen that these spectacles of cruelty have often been found to co-occur with other crimes related to weapons, violence, gambling and illegal drugs.

Typical dogfighting injuries include severe bruising, deep puncture wounds and broken bones. Dogs used in these events often die of dehydration, infection, blood loss, exhaustion or shock hours or even days after the fight.

The Humane Society of the United States transported the dogs to a safe, confidential location where responders and volunteers are providing much-needed care and treatment.

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