By SABRINA GARRETT
The Wilson Post
Sixty dogs removed from a suspected dog fighting operation in Ashland City are currently being housed at a warehouse in Lebanon.
According to reports, the animals were discovered by local fire departments when they responded to a brush fire at the residence on Thanksgiving Day. The Animal Rescue Corps then began Operation Broken Chain, removing the sixty dogs that were alive and the five that were found dead from the scene.
Most of the dogs were Pit Bulls, although some were beagles, with evidence of abuse including broken bones, having their teeth removed and markings from where they were bitten by other dogs. The dogs were kept with thick chains around their necks and Cheatham County Animal Control reported finding a treadmill and fighting pen on the property, which are commonly associated with dog fighting operations.
ARC president Scotlund Haisley said conditions were the worst he's ever seen at a dog fighting operation in his 22-year career in animal protection and rescue. Scotlund has led 15-20 dog fighting rescues as well as two raids and is one of probably five or six people in the world who have personally witnessed this many operations.
New Leash on Life Director Amy Haverstick was a part of the operation and said that despite the stereotype labeled on the breed, these animals just want to be loved.
We are partners with the ARC on a lot of these cases. They called and asked if our vehicles were available and we helped out. It is always pretty dire if they are involved, she said. We helped them do evidence intake and assess the dogs and help extract them. We managed to help them find the emergency shelter here in Lebanon.
Haverstick said that most of the Pit Bulls have been taught to be aggressive to other dogs but not to humans. They were climbing in our laps. They have been bred and trained to fight, but that is a taught behavior. That is not anything that dogs know when they arrive on this earth, she continued. Most of the adult dogs will go to Pit Bull rescues across the country, who know how to rehabilitate these issues. A lot of them may have to go to single dog homes.
The sixty animals are currently being held at the warehouse on Carver Lane and many are getting veterinary attention for the first time in their lives. Haverstick said that while most are adult dogs, there are several puppies who are three months of age or younger. Some are five to seven months old. Those should be able to go directly to placements. They havent been through what the other ones have, she said.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (TBI) is currently investigating the operation.
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org