Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Police Find Lead in Dog-Fighting Ring; They Say an Atlantic Beach Home Was a Training Camp for Pit Bulls

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Police Find Lead in Dog-Fighting Ring; They Say an Atlantic Beach Home Was a Training Camp for Pit Bulls

Article excerpt

Byline: Drew Dixon

ATLANTIC BEACH -- Police and animal control officials say they have uncovered a pit bull training camp on Jordan Street and believe it could lead to people who might be organizing pit bull fights.

Police said they found a suspension system with springs and a rubber tire hanging from a tree at a home at 1568 Jordan St., where a black male pit bull named Tank used the tire to strengthen his jaws.

Later, police found weight systems and other equipment typically used to train pit bulls for competitive combat with other dogs, Zagari said.

There are numerous scars on the animal's face, chest and legs, Zagari said, showing the dog was sparring with some other animal, if not a pit bull. The exact location of the dog fights is unknown, she said. There's no evidence that pit bull fighting took place at the Jordan Street home.

Police monitored the house for two days, then got a warrant. On June 14, they arrested the resident, 32-year-old Sadie Lorene Wilcher, on a charge of possession of pit bull paraphernalia for fighting, Zagari said.

Wilcher doesn't own the dog. She is an associate of the dog's owner, Chitay McGhee, Zagari said.

Wilcher has an unpublished phone number and couldn't be reached for comment.

Animal control officers confiscated Tank and are holding him at the Jacksonville Animal Care and Control facility. Two other adult pit bulls and two puppies on the property weren't confiscated.

Pit bulls, which can be aggressive and dangerous, have been used for illegal competitive sparring.

Pit bulls have been linked to several deaths across the nation. Last month in San Francisco, a 12-year-old boy was mauled to death by one of his family's pit bulls.

While Zagari is seeking a court order for permanent custody of Tank, McGhee is demanding the dog be returned to his custody. …

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