City police are investigating a suspected dog fighting incident after officers discovered seven animals — one dead and six who appeared emaciated and abused — in a West Baltimore house this week.
Around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, police received a 911 phone call indicating a dog fight in progress at a house in the 1600 block of N. Payson St. in the Easterwood neighborhood. Officers responded, and after searching the basement and upstairs of what appeared initially to be a vacant house, they found six abused and emaciated dogs, surrounded by urine and feces, and one dead dog, according to an incident report. Several of the dogs, which an animal control officer identified as pit bulls, were found in cages. Police observed blood stains all around the house and found the carcass of one dog inside a garbage bag, with blood inside. That dog, police observed, had bite marks on its hind legs.
On the third floor of the house, in a room police believe was the dog fighting room because of the amount of blood on the walls and the mattresses present, police found a dog tied to a radiator. The dog, a small male pit bull, had multiple scars on his face and his teeth had been removed, according to the report.
Officials from the city's animal control agency were called to the scene, and removed the dogs from the home. Detective Kevin Brown, a police spokesman, said police are further investigating the incident. No charges have yet been filed, he said.
The 911 call police received, Brown said, indicated that the dogs had been observed chained down in trucks, and appeared neglected. Brian Schleter, a spokesman for the Baltimore City Health Department, said it is particularly important for citizens to report suspected dog fighting because the fights are often clandestine.
"We need people in situations like this to report suspected animal abuse," Schleter said.
As they left the property on N. Payson Street, police were told that the owner of the home lived nearby, the report states. Officers knocked at the door and were met by a woman who said she was the owner of the home where the dogs were found, but did not live there. According to the incident report, when police asked her if she knew who was staying there, she grew uncooperative, but referred police to her nephew, who was upstairs. The nephew named his cousin as the resident of the home and gave police his cell phone number.
The incident report reviewed by the Baltimore Sun redacted the names of the individuals interviewed.