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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2007
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Suspected fighting dogs recovering at shelter

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com 340-2355

Two suspected fighting dogs caught by animal control officers continued to enjoy some rest and relaxation at the Decatur Animal Shelter, authorities said Wednesday.

It remains unknown whether anyone will face charges over the injuries that hospitalized the two pit bulls for six days.

Decatur police said the dogs were possibly involved in a fight in the 700 block of Sykes Street Northwest on Sept. 25.

Police had received a tip that illegal dog fighting might be taking place in an alley. Officer John Crouch arrived to see four black males and the two dogs running north through the alley, said Lt. Dennis Hughes, a police spokesman.

Crouch couldn't tell if the dogs were free or leashed, but animal control officers later caught them running loose, Hughes said.

The fleeing men cut through the neighborhood, sometimes knocking pedestrians from the sidewalks as they barreled along.

Crouch chased them in his patrol car. He caught up to a heavyset member of the group who was left behind, huffing and cursing, as the other three crossed Cashin Street and disappeared behind Leon Sheffield Elementary, Hughes said.

Crouch arrested the 21-year-old on a disorderly conduct charge. The suspect had a large tear in his jeans and scratches on his leg, Hughes said.

Hughes said that, according to animal control officers, "It appeared both dogs had been fighting, and both were injured. One had more extensive injuries, but both needed medical attention from a vet."

Animal Control Officer Mindy Gilbert said the dogs are doing much better.

"We transported them to veterinary care, where they were fattened up and taken care of until they were transported to the humane shelter, where they're still being taken very good care of," Gilbert said.

The dogs will remain at the shelter, where they will receive continued care and forensic veterinary evidence can be collected, pending a court ruling on the matter.

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