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5th person charged in alleged dog-fighting operation near Tilbury, Ont.

Police seize 7 'pit bull type' dogs from Chatham-Kent properties

Pibull Behind Bars

Ontario SPCA Inspector Brad Dewar said the investigation into a alleged dog-fighting ring in southwestern Ontario is the largest dog-fighting investigation in the agency's history. (Shutterstock)

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Police seized seven more "pit bull type" dogs and have charged a fifth person with animal cruelty offences in relation to an alleged dog fighting operation in southwestern Ontario.

Chatham-Kent police say a 32-year old Kent Bridge man is charged with causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal and with encouraging, aiding or assisting in the fighting or baiting of animals.

The seven dogs are being individually assessed by the SPCA in a location outside of Chatham-Kent, police say.

Chatham-Kent police Const. Renee Cowell said it does not appear dog fighting was occurring on either of the two Kent Bridge properties where the seven dogs were seized.  

"This has been a large and complex investigation that has been ongoing for many months," Cowell told CBC News in a phone interview.

Connected to October case 

In October, the Ontario SPCA and Chatham-Kent police raided a property in Tilbury East Township. A total of 31 "pit bull type" dogs were seized. Police said they found hundreds of items used to train dogs to fight.

The SPCA also said those dogs suffered injuries consistent with dog fighting.

Other than the latest man charged, four other individuals were arrested shortly after the raid. They face more than than 300 charges in this case.

Fifty-two dogs have now been seized in the ongoing investigation. Fourteen puppies have been born since the dogs were confiscated.

"This is the largest dog fighting investigation the Ontario SPCA has been a part of and certainly it's been challenging," said SPCA Insp. Brad Dewar. "[Dog fighting] is one of the most heinous crimes in relation to animal cruelty."

"They're unfortunately forced into what is identified as a sport where they're subject to intense training and fighting against other animals," Dewar said. "Whether they live or die at that fight or whether they are injured and recover and, unfortunately, live to fight another day."

Three dogs have been euthanized. The SPCA is applying to euthanize another 21, but animal rights groups are in court to fight that application.

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