Tulsa County sheriff's deputies are investigating a possible dog-fighting ring after several dogs were found dead near a pile of bones and fur and one badly injured pit bull was found near death.
Investigators have not released many details, but animal advocates say all signs point to animal cruelty.
Although the area around 56th Street North near Yale Avenue in Tulsa County is a dumping area for trash, what animal-welfare advocate Chayle Gibson discovered under a coat brought her to tears, she told NewsOn6 reporters.
A pit bull had been dumped in the ditch and barely alive.
"We named him Liam, which means strong-willed warrior," Gibson said.
"I walked over to him, and I kept calling him and snapping and clapping and he wouldn't acknowledge me," Gibson told NewsOn6. "He didn't even raise his head."
Gibson managed to get Liam to the vet but the severity of his wounds and his extreme suffering were beyond the point where his life could be humanely saved.
"He had severe wounds to both sides of his face," Gibson said. "His right side had been torn up. He had a big gaping hole and he had several puncture wounds on the side of his face … They said he was suffering and he would have to be tube fed and that's not fair. That's not humane, so they humanely put him down."
Nationally respected animal advocate Ruth Steinberger said it appears the area is a dumping zone for fighting dogs that have seen their last brawl.
The carcasses of two dead pit bulls were found near the spot that Liam had been dumped. A short distance down the street was a pile of bones and fur from two more dogs.
"There's a lot of signs that was criminal activity, typical of animal fighting," Steinberger said. "If you have a pet dog die, you don't normally dump it by the side of the road."
Tulsa County Sheriff's Capt. Paul Tryon said the investigation is ongoing.
"It is strange we find several dogs at the same location, but at this point, we have no idea what's occurred, when it occurred, so we don't want to jump to any conclusions," Tryon said.
However, it is probably not just a coincidence that Liam and the four dead dogs are all pit bulls.
"It's an amazing, amazing breed and that just breaks my heart that someone would do that and still be able to sleep at night," Gibson told NewsOn6. "It doesn't get easier. It never gets easier to see them hurt. They don't deserve it."
The Oklahoma Alliance for Animals is issuing a $2,500 reward for anyone with information.
Also, up to a $5,000 reward is offered by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person involved in illegal animal fighting. Call 877-TIP-HSUS (877-847-4787). Callers’ identities are protected.
Source: News on 6