Police probe alleged dog fighting ring; one dog found dead, 11 rescued in "very bad shape"
Boston Police are investigating the circumstances around an apparent dog fighting ring that was uncovered on Monday night at a house near the Shawmut T station. At least one dog was found dead at the scene and 11 "pit bull-like" dogs were taken from the basement of the house after police found them crying in crates covered in urine, feces and blood. The canines are now in the custody of the Animal Rescue League as police weigh likely criminal charges against the dogs’ owner.
Working from an anonymous tip, a team led by the BPD executed a search warrant at about 7:45 p.m. on Monday at the green house at 56 Mather Street. Officers from the city's Animal Control division and the Animal Rescue League were on hand to assist.
According to a Boston Police report, officers reported that the basement at 56 Mather "smelled of animal feces and urine and several dogs could be heard barking and crying" when they entered the house.
"The dogs were in very bad shape," said Captain Richard Sexton, commander of the Area C-11 police district. "It's still under investigation [but] there'll certainly be something coming in terms of charges."
Sexton says that there was evidence collected at the house that suggest that the dogs were being trained to fight each other.
"The conditions were bad for the dogs, they had injuries consistent with that," Sexton said, adding that it is not yet known if the Mather Street house was the site of illicit dog-fighting.
One dog carcass was recovered from the scene and will be examined to determine cause of death. No one has been arrested at this point, Sexton added, but he characterized the police investigation as "active." According to a police report, the chief suspect in the case lives at the Mather Street home which is owned by a relative. That suspect, who was not named, is out of state but has been contacted by police detectives, who confirmed that the dogs belong to him. The property, a two-family house, is owned by Perry Delories, according to city records.
"Detectives observed that the dogs were either being held in metal pens, crates, chain link cages or chained to walls," said a Boston Police statement issued to the Reporter. "The animals had no access to food or water and were sitting in their own blood, feces and urine. Detectives further noted that all the dogs were in poor physical condition, i.e., all had serious injuries including lacerations and torn skin as seen on their heads, faces and torsos.
"After the dogs were released from their crates, several dogs were visibly limping while one, who could not walk, had to be carried to the animal rescue vehicle. In addition to the dogs, detectives noted a crate containing four rabbits who all appeared to be undernourished. Detectives further noted that the basement floor was strewn with shredded newspaper and feces and the windows were all blocked with wood or other coverings to prevent anyone from seeing into the basement."
The police also seized items "normally associated with dog fighting and training", according to the BPD, including one "carpet" treadmill for exercising dogs, 3 large plastic buckets containing sponges and a large quantity of an unknown liquid and one 10-12 foot length of large link dog chain.
Boston Police say they were alerted to the situation on Sunday by a "concerned citizen who wanted to file a complaint relative to animal cruelty and possible dog fighting." Police scoped out the property on Monday and returned with a search warrant team the next day.