ASPCA Assists Huntersville Police Department in Removal of Nearly 25 Dogs from North Carolina Dog Fighting Investigation

Dogs transported to temporary shelter to receive much-needed medical care
September 29, 2015

Huntersville, N.C.—At the request of the Huntersville Police Department, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is assisting with evidence collection and the removal of 23 pit bulls allegedly housed and fought at a property in Huntersville, N.C., approximately 12 miles north of downtown Charlotte. The Animal Care & Control Division of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is also working to support local authorities with the investigation.

A search warrant was executed Tuesday morning, where responders discovered dogs tethered on heavy chains and living in filthy conditions. Some were thin and exhibited scars, bite marks, broken teeth and other injuries commonly associated with dog fighting. Sixteen adult dogs and seven puppies were removed from the property, and dog fighting paraphernalia was discovered, including conditioning and training devices, indoor and outdoor fighting pits, and medication common to treating wounds associated with dog fighting. No arrests have yet been made.

The dogs are being transported to a temporary shelter in an undisclosed location, where they will be provided medical care and behavioral enrichment by ASPCA responders until custody is determined by the court. The ASPCA is working closely with local law enforcement and prosecutors to ensure the best legal outcome for these animals.

“Our hope is that our actions today will bring those persons responsible for this cruel and inhumane activity to justice,” said Chief Cleveland L. Spruill of the Huntersville Police Department. “We want to send a message that this type of cruel and illegal activity will not be tolerated in our community.”

“Dog fighting victims live terribly isolated lives and are subjected to horrific acts of cruelty,” said Kathryn Destreza, director of Investigations for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “Dog fighting is an underground activity that goes mostly unnoticed by the public, and we’re grateful to the Huntersville Police Department for actively pursuing this case to help end the suffering of these dogs.”

Agencies supporting the ASPCA by supplying resources, hands-on assistance or supplies include: the Animal Care & Control Division of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department; Asheville Humane Society; and Humane Alliance, a program of the ASPCA.

Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In North Carolina, dog fighting, the possession of dogs for fighting and being a spectator at a dog fight are all class H felonies, with a maximum penalty of up to 25 months in jail. The ASPCA has worked with law enforcement on more than 100 dog fighting cases, including the two largest dog fighting raids in U.S. history in 2013 and 2009. Earlier this year, more than 17,000 concerned citizens signed the ASPCA’s letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, asking for more vigorous pursuance of dog fighters.

For more information on the ASPCA’s efforts to tackle dog fighting and what the public can do to help, please visit