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Orange County looks to re-home dogs seized from fighting ring

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) - Orange County Animal Services is hoping to re-home a few animals rescued from a dog fighting ring, but only to experienced owners.

Bob Marotto, the shelter’s director, says the dogs were seized from a Rougemont home on March 2.

Daniel Crew Jr., 41, is facing more than 40 charges for dog fighting and animal cruelty 

“This is the most egregious kind of animal crime where two animals are pitted in a life and death struggle,” said Marotto.

Marotto said the dogs ranged in age from 5 months to 5 years old, and some needed immediate medical care for wounds, parasites, and infections.

Of the 30 dogs, Marotto said 18 were deemed dangerous based on North Carolina law pertaining to the types of wounds and scars they have which are consistent with dog fighting.

“Those scars appears on certain parts of their body their muzzles, their forelimbs,” he said.

Marotto said a behavior specialist with the American Society for Prevention of Animal Cruelty was brought it to evaluate the remaining 12 dogs. 

“They are coming out of a situation where these dogs, or dogs, were being bred specifically for their appetite to fight with other dogs. That kind of drive, and that kind of aggression is something we want to be mindful of,” he said.

Marotto said while the dogs could be aggressive to people, they are mostly aggressive to other animals. 

He said each of the remaining 12 dogs were put through a series of tests and eight of them passed.

“Some got an A, some got a B, some got a C. Those grades give us an idea of the challenges or lack of challenges for those dogs in the re-homing process,” said Marotto.

The dogs will not be adopted out by the shelter, instead Marotto says they plan to partner with rescues that specialize in these types of dogs.

“It’s much more prudent and responsible for us to assure that they go into experienced homes,” he said.

That process won’t begin until the case makes its way through court, which Marotto anticipates will wrap up by the end of July.

Until then, Marotto said the shelter is working hard to make sure they dogs are happy, and relaxed. He says because they are considered evidence, they cannot be socialized in the way other dogs at the shelter are.

“Because we can’t give them the kind of physical activity and stimulation we’d like to give them, we try and find substitutes and that’s mostly toys and chews,” said Marotto.

Marotto said having all 30 dogs here has put a strain on manpower, and space.

As the shelter approached capacity, Marotto wants to remind people there are plenty of animals available immediately for adoption.

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