ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — The ASPCA is currently caring for 64 dogs that were seized from a massive dog fighting ring in Rock Island, Illinois. The dogs were located at 12 different locations and 17 people are being held in connection.
No one has been charged with animal abuse as of this time however Ryan M. Hickman, 41, and Willie E. Jackson, 34, have been charged with possession of narcotics. State’s Attorney John McGehee said that they are still researching all options for more charges.
In 2010, Hickman had plead guilty to a dog fighting charge and was given a two-year probation sentence.
The investigation began in December 2014 when police recovered a cellphone from a suspect’s home. The cellphone had a video of dogs fighting. With the help of 13 different agencies, the Rock Island Police were able to serve multiple search warrants in Rock Island and Davenport.
The ASPCA seized dogs from a dozen locations and are now undergoing medical evaluation.
Tim Rickey, vice president of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response, says that the dogs were not in the best of shape but none had to be euthanized.
“We’re relieved these animals have finally been removed from this cycle of violence,” Rickey told AOL News. “Many people will be surprised to learn that dog fighting is happening in their community. It’s an underground activity that goes mostly unnoticed by the public, but it happens all across the country.”
Although Rickey was hoping to be able to adopt the dogs out as soon as possible, Federal Prosecutors are now looking into gaining custody of the dogs because they were used as gambling tools.
Hopefully these dogs will get the love and family they deserve as soon as possible.