A search of a drug-filled home led police to a dog-fighting ring in the backyard, North Carolina officials say.
Seven dogs were hungry and scared when they were found in New Bern last week, the city’s police department wrote in a news release.
“Many of them were chained to posts with heavy chains and appeared to be underfed,” police said. “The dogs also showed signs of abuse including cuts, sores and wounds on their bodies.”
Police say the discovery was made when they were serving a search warrant at a home. Authorities seized heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine and stolen guns, according to the news release.
“Inside the home, officers found a treadmill used to train the dogs,” police say.
The animals were likely “forced to fight on command” during “violent” encounters, according to officials.
Chief Toussaint Summers Jr. called the situation “one of the worst cases of animal cruelty that we’ve seen.”
“They were living in very poor conditions; forced to eat, sleep and use the bathroom in the same place,” he said in the news release.
Police say the dogs were taken to a veterinarian before they were sent to Craven Pamlico Animal Services Center.
Three men were arrested and are facing animal cruelty charges, New Bern officials say.
Aaron Dejon Inman Jr., Anthony Mackmore and Saman Reaves were being held in the Craven County jail as of Monday morning, records show. They are also charged with having drugs and a stolen gun, officials say.
New Bern is in Eastern North Carolina, near the coast and roughly 95 miles northeast of Wilmington.