MASON, MICH. - Investigators from several agencies seized 26 dogs and other evidence from homes in Ingham and Eaton counties Thursday as part of a long-running investigation targeting dogfighting in the area, authorities said.
A total of 46 dogs have been seized since the investigation began last spring, Ingham County Animal Control Director John Dinon said.
"Our animal control officers, in the course of investigating animal cruelty complaints, saw evidence of dogfighting back in March or April," he said. "This investigation has been ongoing for awhile."
Officers on Thursday served search warrants at three locations in Ingham County and one location in Eaton County, Dinon said.
"Animal cruelty and animal fighting are serious crimes," Dinon said in a news release. "This was truly a team effort and a model of interdepartmental collaboration. The operation went very smoothly with no injuries or incidents, and it yielded valuable evidence and got a lot of dogs out of bad situations."
Various police agencies helped in the investigation, including the Ingham Regional Special Response Team, Lansing police and the Eaton County Sheriff's Office, animal control officials said.
Dinon said 16 dogs were taken in by Ingham County Animal Control and 10 dogs were taken in by Eaton County Animal Control on Thursday.
None of the dogs taken in by his agency needed immediate medical attention, although some showed scarring, Dinon said. Officials in Eaton County said some of the dogs they brought in showed "serious bite scars" consistent with dogfighting injuries, he said.
No one has been charged with dogfighting in connection with the probe, Dinon said. But he expects the investigation will yield dogfighting or animal cruelty charges.
"I am hopeful and optimistic it will result in charges," he said. "Dogfighting and animal cruelty are terrible crimes, and if people see evidence of it, they should report it to animal control. We want to get the animals out of a bad situation and hold the people responsible accountable for their actions."
Dinon did not release the addresses where warrants were served.
However, 10 dogs were seized from a home on Thackin Drive in Lansing as part of the investigation, the Eaton County Sheriff's Office said in a news release on Thursday night. The residence is in a part of Lansing that is in Eaton County.
The Eaton County Special Response Team and Eaton County Animal Control officers executed a search warrant shortly after 3 p.m. at the Thackin Drive address. Besides the dogs, investigators seized "several items to help support" the joint investigation, sheriff's officials said.
No one was home when the search warrant was executed.
At about 5 p.m. Thursday, law enforcement officers were carrying bags, boxes and plastic tubs from a residence in the 1700 block of West Saginaw Street in Lansing and placing them in the three Ingham County Animal Control vehicles parked nearby. Several Michigan State University police vehicles were also on the scene.
The Ingham Regional Special Response Team was asked to participate in the probe, Ingham County Sheriff's Lt. Greg Harris said. The SRT comprises officers from several area agencies, including MSU police and the sheriff's department.
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