JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Animal Care and Protective Services were spotted Wednesday removing numerous dogs from a property on the Westside.
An officer at the scene on Exline Road near Old Middleburg Road told News4Jax that there were more than a dozen dogs on the property that were being placed into protective custody.
It all started with a noise complaint from neighbors who long suspected the noise had something to do with dogfighting. Neighbors told News4Jax an animal control officer came out to the property to at one point investigate the complaint.
Whatever he saw was enough to get a warrant to search the property.
“Neighbors that I have spoken with believe this has been going on for a year or a year and half,” said one neighbor, who asked not to be identified. “They have the same concerns that I have that there’s been fighting and neglect going on.”
One-by-one on Wednesday, News4Jax spotted what appeared to be pit bulls and pit bull mixes being walked or carried to a large animal control truck.
Investigators were also seen putting large chains and other objects into another van.
According to neighbors who have seen the animals, some of them appeared to have visible injuries.
During the search, the dog’s owner drove up to the property but was not allowed inside. He was visibly angry about officers being on the property. He told News4Jax he’d done nothing wrong. He showed News4Jax a notice that he received in November after an animal control officer showed up to investigate noise complaints.
An arrest was not announced Wednesday.
“They’re going to go through all the evidence that they recovered from the property as it stands right now and make a determination,” said News4Jax crime and safety expert Kent Jefferson. “The fact that they were able to get a signed warrant from a judge shows probable cause for something.”