Two Dozen Pit Bulls Rescued from Dog Fighting Ring in Flint

A Flint man is facing serious jail time after the police raided his place and found him in possession of drugs and a dogfighting ring. 25-year-old Marquel Holmes has been charged with 10 felonies including two 40-year and two 60 – year felonies related to possession of narcotics and hard drugs with intent to deliver. According to ABC 12, the man was found with cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl. He was charged with up to 6 counts related to possession of dogfighting equipment, dogfighting and abandoning and cruelty to said animals.

David Leyton, the County Prosecutor announced the arrest at a press conference on March, 12. A total of 24 pit bulls used and intended for dogfighting were rescued, seven of the pit bulls were puppies. The good news is,all the seven puppies have since been adopted out by the local animal control. Three of the adult dogs had to be put down since they displayed aggressive behavior and showed no signs of rehabilitation. The County Prosecutor gave an update regarding the rest of the adult dogs. He stated that they were currently under rehabilitation by animal control.

Previous Raids

The Flint Area Narcotics Group conducted the first raid at a Huron Street Home in July 2019. The officers found seven pit-bull pups and eight adult pit bulls, all of which were in poor condition. Leyton stated that the dogs appeared to have marks and scars all over their faces and bodies in general. He noted that one even had fresh bite marks. The veterinarian forensic report observed that the scars were consistent with the practice of dogfighting. A second raid was conducted at a Barrie Avenue Home on January 13 this year. The officers found a total of nine pit bulls. Eight of the dogs were chained with heavy metal chains. One was chained inside the house. All of the dogs appeared to suffer from malnutrition and had wounds and scars on their faces and legs.

All of the raids were synonymous with drug possession and dog fighting equipment such as weighted vests and harnesses, weighted dog collars, heavy metal chains, treadmills used to train the dogs and dog medications such as steroids for the dogs. David Leyton observed that dogfighting cases were fairly common in Genesee County. He sought to assure the public that FANG officers were vigilant to try and stop the sick practice of dogfighting.

Similar Situations

In 2012, a 14-year-old boy was believed to have been the leader of a ruthless dog fighting ring which unfortunately left three dogs badly hurt that they had to be euthanized. The officers acted on an anonymous tip about an alleged dogfighting ring in the area. Officers seized nine canines and two puppies from two separate abandoned houses in Flint and the boy was taken into custody. The boy’s mother was also arrested but on unrelated charges. Three of the animals had multiple injuries that were typical of dogfighting. Some of the injuries sustained by the dogs were as a result of human torture. Two of the canines had critical injuries such as fractured bones and open cuts that posed a difficulty for the dogs to stand up.

Despite the horrible report by the Genesee county veterinarians regarding the wounds on the dogs, some of the animals were returned to their owners due to a lack of sufficient evidence to hold them. Pickell stated that dogfighting injuries mostly occur on the face from fighting and on the front legs. Investigators initially found a chocolate brown Labrador retriever used as bait. They described the injuries on the animal as brutal. The brown Labrador and two other pit bulls had to be euthanized since the vets saw no signs of possible recovery.

A bait dog is typically bused to test the fighting instructs of other dogs. The Labrador had several bite wounds and deep wounds on its front legs. Additionally, the dog had deep cuts on its shoulder which was bleeding and had a fractured bone. The Labrador’s tail was fractured and authorities hypothesized that the fractures on the tail were as a result of the biting and pulling by other dogs. The dog was found to have other human inflicted injuries and it was revealed that the dog might have been subjected to blunt force trauma as a result of the insertion of a foreign object in its rectum. A brown and white pit-bull had fresh bite wounds behind its ears and deep bite marks on its mouth. According to Pickell, the animal had three fractured ribs which were a result of kicking and torture by humans.

In another raid in 2018, a dozen pit bulls were rescued from horrid conditions after police were alerted about a dogfighting ring in Michigan. According to WNEM, 11 pit bulls were found covered in fecal matter at two separate abandoned homes in Genesee County. Nine of the dogs were males while two were females. The officers said both homes were in deplorable conditions as they were covered in feces, lacked power and were abandoned. According to the local Sherriff Robert Pickell, the dogs had not been fed in several days and seemed dehydrated.

He added that the dogs were being transported in car trunks to several locations. The investigators stated that the dogs were being medicated, bred and trained for fights. They found various needles, syringes, medication and drug equipment associated with dogfighting. Bruce Cayton, 32, was brought to justice after he tried to get back his animals from animal control. Cayton was found with heroin at the time of his arrest. He was charged with 17 counts of felony charges including animal cruelty, abandonment, and fighting.

Sheriff Pickell said in a press conference that Cayton was part of a gang called the Pierson Hood Gang which was responsible for various murders in the city of Flint. The Sherriff noted that the gang was involved in violence, drugs, money, and dogfighting. The dogs were accorded the necessary treatment and after their recovery, they were placed for adoption.



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