Is a 14-year-old boy actually the mastermind of a dog fighting ring in Flint, Michigan? Authorities believe so and have removed seven dogs, several seriously injured, from the boy's home.
Police raided the boy's home after a passerby spotted the "bait dog," or the dog used to train fight dogs, standing in the driveway. Authorities responded to the call and discovered a gory scene in the garage behind the house.
"First of all, we found fresh blood on a cage, and when I say fresh we're talking about within hours. Then there were big box mattresses where they were squared off to make an arena," Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell told ABC.
Animal control removed five seriously wounded dogs from the home. Just two days later, seven more dogs were removed from homes in connection with the dog fighting ring. "What we've got here is a serious dog fighting group," Pickell said.
"One of the dogs that we brought out appeared to be nursing, and our first impulse is to believe that they may be breeding these dogs," Pickell explained. That makes 12 dogs in total that have been rescued, though authorities fear many more may have died as a result of the gruesome fights.
The 14-year-old boy, whose name is being withheld due to his age, has been questioned by officers in connection with the fighting. It is believed that he ran the ring in his own garage. His mother has also been arrested on unrelated warrants. The five dogs originally seized were found at his grandmother's home.
Police have stated that as of yet, no charges have been filed in the case due to mounting evidence. "There were other people in the house and we're looking at the possibility of their knowledge, their participation, and the investigation is continuing," Pickell explained.
Dog fighting has become a bigger problem for parts of Michigan, according to authorities. "It seems like the last five or six years it has intensified greatly because of the economy, as it seems like the people are looking to make more money," explained animal rescue advocate Wendy Reed.
"There may have been $2,000, $5,000, maybe upwards of $10,000 depending on the background. When you have dog fighting, you not only have rings, you have illegal gambling. You have drugs, and there are a lot of key factors that fall into the fighting ring," Reed told ABC.