American pit bulls are a product of English bulldogs and terrier breeds and have been used in dogfights since the 1800s.
Earlier this week, Los Angeles County sheriffs raided a filthy dogfighting compound in the Antelope Valley and arrested 12 men, including one alleged kingpin of Southern California dogfighting.
Authorities also removed eight dogs from the property, reports MSNBC. At least three of the dogs had scars and marks that were very obvious signs of fighting. The dogs were tethered to the dirt backyard with heavy chains. In the garage a set of wooden hinged wooden boards—a makeshift fighting ring—was stained with blood and excrement.
"It smelled like the worst kennel you've ever been in in your life," said Los Angeles Sheriff Lt. Larry Gregg.
Police raided the house in the high desert community of Littlerock on Saturday night, acting on a tip from The Humane Society that suggested a man was taking his dog to a fight. The Sheriff's Department then conducted surveillance of the man, identified as Paul Manual Wilhite. The police tracked Wilhite as he traveled to several Antelope Valley locations with his dog, eventually returning to his home on East Avenue T-12, Littlerock.
The Orange County Register reports that all suspects were booked on felony charges relating to dogfighting and were being held in lieu of $20,000 bail, according to the news release. Wilhite, the resident of the location, was booked on three outstanding traffic warrants totaling $199,000. The men are expected to be arraigned on Tuesday in Antelope Valley Court.
What punishment should the alleged dogfighters face?
Jocelyn Heaney is an English instructor, animal activist and freelance writer for L.A. Review of Books and Warner Bros. Pictures, among others. Her favorite animals are great white sharks, horses and all cats. She is currently at work on a memoir. Email Jocelyn | @JocelynHeaney