CHARLES CITY, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia court records indicate that federal authorities are seeking the forfeiture of over one dozen pit bulls seized in the midst of a narcotics and dogfighting investigation.
Documents obtained by NewsNation affiliate WRIC this week reveal the FBI recovered the dogs, Drug Enforcement Administration and Virginia law enforcement carrying out search warrants in Sussex County and Charles City County in November.
The forfeiture complaint was filed April 26, with warrants being granted the following day. Officials are formally asking the court to end the unidentified suspects’ rights to 19 of the 41 dogs that recovered.
15 “pit bull-type dogs” were found after a warrant was executed at home in Providence Forge on Courthouse Road.
WRIC asked people at the home Friday what they knew about the dogs, and the alleged fighting.
“No, we don’t want to talk to anyone,” one woman said.
After being asked if she knew anything about the seized dogs, another woman said, “this is private property; get off the yard.”
The women refused to answer multiple questions from WRIC.
50 miles south, FBI agents recovered 26 dogs at home in Courtland on Sandy Hill Road; Google satellite images show apparent dirt circles in the back yard.
Court documents detail dogs had heavy chains tied to trees or ground anchors, and those chains wore out the ground so much nothing could grow.
Officials say the dogs are in U.S. Marshals Service custody being cared for by a contractor. Some were discovered wounded and suffering from medical issues. According to court records, of the dogs seized from one of the residences, two had fractured teeth with pulp exposure — which can be very painful.
None of the unnamed defendant dogs appeared to be spayed or neutered, and all 41–at both properties–had hookworms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says hookworms can cause bloody stool, weight loss, anemia and even death.
Along with the dogs, common dogfighting equipment like treadmills, weighted collars, chains, weight scales, break sticks and more were seized during the execution of the federal warrants.
A warrant for an arrest of an unnamed defendant was issued Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.