Sunday morning was filled with heavy hearts as police officials discovered a large dog-fighting operation near the Mulga area in Alabama. Police deputies stated that they received a noise complaint from an unidentified individual. According to this individual, the noise sounded like dogs fighting.
When the deputies arrived to the scene, they could clearly hear the noise of dogs fighting as well. They proceeded to walk further into the woods to investigate. That’s when they saw a child carrying an injured dog. The police officers along with Chief Deputy Randy Christian found the location of the dog-fighting ring not too long after, and the sight they saw was absolutely disheartening.
The ring was filled with fresh dog blood inside. No one knows at this point how long this operation had been going on, but the deputies rescued a total of 17 pit bulls—a disturbing number that’s only upped by the number of dog skulls they found in the surrounding areas. The police uncovered an alarming number of 11 dog skulls so far, and they suspect that there will be a lot more.
42-year old Reginald Antonio Dowdell was taken into custody that morning and brought to the county jail to await formal charges. A warrant was obtained against Dowdell on Monday afternoon, but the police are working on more charges. Dowdell will likely face felony dogfighting charges in addition to at least 15 or more counts of animal cruelty charges.
Animal control organizations were quick to respond to the call for help. They came to assist with taking care of all the injured dogs that were found near the fighting grounds. Some of these dogs have sustained incredible wounds, especially to the face, ears, and legs. Some dogs seem to have deformations to their faces and ears that are consistent to having previous injuries that have just healed. This is evidence that Dowdell has been doing this for some time now.
The injuries sustained by the rescued dogs will take a while to heal, but most importantly, it will take a while to heal the dogs behaviorally. President and CEO of the Greater Birmingham Human Society, Allison Black Cornelius, sent a social media message that calls for people to be proactive and vigilant in reporting things that they see around. The more people there may be participating in efforts to find, report, and detain cruel individuals such as Dowdell, the better it would be for dogs and other animal. This situation was even worsened by the fact that there was a child on scene. It seems that the child was made to participate in the illegal activities. That’s probably another charge that Dowdell will face, but as of now there are no reports as to how the child is related to Dowdell.
This is not a solitary incident. There have been many dog fighting rings in the past throughout the nation, and these will continue to pop up as long as the public is not properly educated about why these are illegal and the kinds of suffering that dogs go through after being subjected to such cruelty. One of the most popular arrests made in relation to felony dogfighting was that of former Atlanta Falcons super star, Michael Vick. The football player went to prison and eventually lost his career because he was running an illegal dog-fighting ring.
The 17 dogs that were rescued in this case will go through an intensive healing process through the GBHS. It was too late for the 11 dogs that have died fighting their way to survival, but there’s still a chance for the rest to find new life, possibly with new owners. Unfortunately, the wounds these dogs have sustained from fighting will only lead to scars—a reminder of the sad history where they once came from. Many of these dogs will also endure behavioral issues such as fear and aggressiveness because of the environment that they grew up in. The socialization process for dogs is one that should involve positive experiences, not ones where they are forced to fight amongst each other. For now, the residents of the area are disgusted and flabbergasted that people could actually do something of this sort, and officials are working diligently in order to prevent this from happening again in the future.