Surveillance video captures pit bulls being manhandled prior to an illegal fight between the animals, for which dozens of spectators gathered in a South Side basement.
A South Side dogfight was interrupted Saturday night when members of the Cook County Sheriff’s animal crimes unit raided the home. The bust was the first of its kind in Cook County history, officials said.
Late Saturday, officers entered the basement of a home at 526 W. 66th St. and found “dozens of people” betting on a fight amongst two pit bulls, according to a release from the Cook County Sheriff’s office.
The dogs had been fighting for about 15 minutes when police entered and one was “mauled so badly it could barely stand,” the release said. The injured dog was carried out of the home on a stretcher and is not expected to survive.
The other dog, which was "more aggressive," was taken to a local shelter for treatment.
More than 50 people face charges for attending the fight, which included 13 and 15-year-old spectators and a pregnant woman.
Donaver Jones, 38, of Riverdale, arranged the fight and was charged with felony dog fighting. He also owned the more aggressive dog, the release said. Jones was arrested two years ago for his part in a “massive dog fighting operation” in Livingston County, about 100 miles southwest of Chicago.
Melvin Trent, 37, and Timothy Norris, 35, both of Joliet, also face felony dog fighting charges -- they owned the severely injured dog, the release said.
“What we interrupted Saturday night was both disgusting and disturbing,” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said in a statement. “So many times, we hear about fights after the fact or find he discarded remains of a dog involved in one of these fights. It took great police work by our investigators, in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department, to break up this fight in progress.”
Police recovered dog-fighting paraphernalia in the home -- including a staple gun used to close wounds on injured dogs, steroids, amphetamines and “thick wooden stakes used to drive apart the dogs’ jaws after they’d locked down on another dog,” the release said.
Three 9-mm handguns were also recovered and two vehicles, which carried dog cages and fighting manuals, were towed.
Two children attended Saturday’s dogfight, which police say is a “growing trend.”
“It’s heart breaking to know that children are being exposed to such reckless disregard for life,” Dart said.
The investigation started last month.