Officers find gory signs of dog fights

? The call came in Wednesday afternoon about a vicious dog.

By Thursday morning, Wichita Animal Control and police officers had confiscated what they said are the remains of a dogfighting site at a home in a northeast residential neighborhood.

“Inside the house looked like an unkempt dog pen,” Don Henry, environmental services manager for the city, said Thursday. “It wasn’t fit for human habitation.”

It was the first case investigated by the city under a new ordinance that strengthens its powers in confiscating potentially dangerous dogs and paraphernalia used to train them to fight – a blood sport prohibited by law.

The call began like the other 129 such calls of dog attacks the city received between January and March, said Kay Johnson, director of environmental services.

Animal Control officers found a pit bull that had attacked another dog. After police arrived for assistance, officers tracked the dog to a house at 1536 N. Piatt. There, they found other pit bulls, some outside, others visible through windows.

The dogs carried scars from fighting. All looked malnourished. Officers said it was evident no one lived there to care for them.

After executing a search warrant, Dennis Graves said he saw something he hadn’t seen in 27 years working at the city’s animal shelter: A room in the house splattered with blood. Dog blood.

Based on what they’d learned about dogfighting in training programs they’d recently attended, it looked to Graves and Henry as if the room had been used to fight the dogs, or train them.

“It was pretty much a textbook example,” Henry said. “I still had the smell on my clothes when I went home.”

Officials said a new ordinance passed this year allows them greater authority to take dogs and confiscate paraphernalia associated with dog fighting, which creates a danger to the neighborhoods where the animals train and fight.

From this house authorities confiscated:

¢ Six pit bulls

¢ Two treadmills of the type they said are used to train fighting dogs

¢ A piece of animal carcass they said was used to train fighting dogs

¢ A sledgehammer

“The sledgehammer apparently was used to dispatch the dogs that lost the fight,” said police spokesman Gordon Bassham.

The owners of the property had not been located Thursday.

Officials said it’s too early to say what penalties the owners might face.