JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, along with Animal Care and Protective Services and other agencies, served search warrants Wednesday that police said were related to an animal investigation.
There appeared to be scenes at more than one location. Animal control officers and advocates were at a home on Sawyer Avenue, where one man appeared to be taken into custody, but it’s unclear if he was criminally charged.
News4JAX has confirmed two people were arrested in connection to the investigation — arrested at a home on Gilchrest Road. The Sheriff’s Office said both are facing charges related to dogfighting.
After authorities secured the scene on Gilchrest Road, animal control officers along with members of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and a veterinarian showed up.
While the bulk of the investigation appeared to be inside the house, News4JAX saw approximately nine dogs removed from the property and placed into protective custody, most of which appeared to be pit bulls. It’s unclear how many dogs were removed from the Sawyer Avenue location.
We also saw officers removing evidence such as heavy chains, shackles and large machines believed by investigators to be used to train and condition dogs to fight.
Jim Crosby is a retired JSO police officer who is now one of the nation’s leading experts on dogfighting investigations. He says raiding more than one location at the same time is very common.
“Oftentimes, people will keep dogs in different locations so there’s not as many altogether. They also often keep the dogs in one place and actually fight in another place to keep the properties separated,” he explained.
One of the dogs taken into custody had to be carried because it was missing a leg. Crosby says it’s common to conduct a raid and discover injured dogs.
“There can be anything from scarring from the fights to missing limbs,” he said.
A statement from JSO reads:
“In speaking with the supervisor on scene, we have been advised that the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, along with Jacksonville’s Animal Care and Protective Services and other agencies, served several search warrants in relation to an animal investigation.”