Miami-Dade Animal Services Department investigators, with police backup, rescued 10 abused and neglected dogs, some of them pit bulls, from a squalid property in Goulds on Wednesday.
Kathleen Labrada, Shelter Operations & Enforcement chief, said that some had facial wounds consistent with dog fighting.
Pit bulls are illegal in Miami-Dade County but are seldom seized before owners, who face fines and fees, are given a chance to place them outside the county.
Labrada said three of the 10 conform to the county’s definition of pit bulls. In all, investigators rescued four puppies, two juveniles, and three adults from filthy cages. The 10th dog was “at large” in front of the house, Labrada said.
Although Animal Services could not confirm it, Dahlia Canes, who heads the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation, believes that some of the dogs were victims of “trunking”: locking two dogs in the trunk of a car that is driven around with music blasting and letting them fight to the death in the confined space.
The “victor” lives to fight again.
Labrada said Animal Services began receiving anonymous complaints about pit bulls running loose at the location in June 2012. Although the resident claimed the dogs were not his, he was cited.
She did not want to reveal the address Thursday because police were looking for the owner, who could be charged with a third-degree felony.
“When we do a [citation compliance] re-check, those folks are clever enough to take them off the property,” she said.
New complaints began coming in on April 23. One caller said a rampaging pit bull had killed a neighbor’s dog.
The department plans to quickly petition the court for custody of the dogs so that they can be placed in foster care and adopted.