Authorities rescued 20 dogs and arrested four men Thursday for allegedly running a dogfighting ring in Gary, Lake County Sheriff officials said.
Gary residents Clifton Harris, 49; Brandon J. Peterson, 26; Sammie J. Jones, 28, and Willie C. Hargrove, 52, were arrested on charges of promoting dogfighting at a garage in the 900 block of Willard Street.
After the arrests, authorities rescued 20 dogs from another house on the block, some with fresh wounds, officials said. Officials found several puppies, young enough to be held in one hand, among the dogs.
Lake County Sheriff John Buncich said his department received an anonymous tip a few weeks ago about dogfighting and possible drugs. With the help of the Humane Society, they served a warrant at a home on Willard, several houses down from the garage where the fighting took place, and discovered Harris, Peterson and Jones.
“The house is deplorable,” Buncich said, adding that feces was found inside.
Hargrove, who owns the garage where officials say the fighting took place, was arrested shortly after, police said.
Inside Hargrove’s garage, four plain, wooden doors stood on their long edges, propped up by a microwave and a small cabinet, to create the fighting ring along the cinder block walls, Lake County Detective Michelle Weaver said.
“It’s pretty make-shift,” she said.
Two sticks lying on the ground likely were used to pry the dogs’ jaws apart when they were locked in battle so that the dogs would keep fighting, Weaver said.
One dog was chained up outside the garage, still sporting an ear injury. Buncich said another one had a hole in its face from fighting.
Rib bones could be seen on one of the female dogs that appeared to have been nursing.
Weaver said officials do not know how long the fighting was going on.