(MUNCIE) - The dogs are now in a safe place at Muncie's Animal Shelter. But investigators say the 25 Pit Bulls were kept in "a dog hell," says shelter supervisor Phil Peckinpaugh.
Police say the dogs were kept in a mobile home and garage on Muncie's north side. The environment was so bad, it is now posted "not for human habitation".
The dogs that were outside were on heavy chains, tied up to car axles buried in the ground. The ones inside were in travel crates which were much too small for their bodies.
Police arrested Rahsaan Johnson. There could be other arrests. Neighbors say they were not surprised.
"I saw numerous dogs," said neighbor Raymond Mains. "They would take them up and down the road with weighted collars on them, big long chains. They were training them on bikes, pulling them around the block."
The dog in pen 16 flew into Indianapolis International from the Dominican Republic with another dog recently. They came through Customs and that sparked a call from federal agents to Muncie police, leading to the raid on the Blaine Street house.
One dog had serious fighting injuries. The vet put that one down. The shelter supervisor says "it died in a caring environment, not in the hands of a dogfighter."
Some are malnourished, malformed and scarred. But the dogs are quiet. The director at the shelter says they show no signs of aggression to people, only to other dogs.
If Johnson does not want the dogs, 11 of them will go to rescues in East Coast states after 10 days. The other 13 will be evaluated by local rescues to see if they can one day be adopted.
"If a human were to live in that type of environment," says Peckinpaugh, "it would take years for them to recover and it may be the same kind of thing for these dogs."
The suspect faces animal neglect charges, and charges related to illegal purchase and possession of fighting animals.
You can help the dogs. The Muncie Animal Shelter says donations can help pay for their spaying and neutering and transport to East Coast rescues. The shelter is located at 2401 S. Gharkey, Muncie.
Have a question or comment about a news story? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org