23 pit bulls seized from East Oakland home

March 17, 2010 7:04:26 PM PDT
Veterinarians in Oakland are evaluating nearly two dozen pit bulls confiscated from a single home. Police say the dogs were living in filthy conditions. Many were sick or injured, and may have been used for fighting.

Pit bull puppies were living in crates stacked three high, hidden in a shed in a backyard in East Oakland.

"The smell of urine in that shed was almost unbearable. None of the dogs in the shed had water, they were living in their own urine and fecal matter," Animal Control Officer Elana Hocking said.

Officers eventually found 23 dogs at Calvin Brown's house on Tuesday afternoon. They are all at the Oakland Animal Shelter now, where the vet says many are in bad shape.

"They are all bred from the same families; you can see it with the congenital deformities. The older ones all have the bite wounds, the scars, the scabs, hallmark key indicators of fighting," Dr. Jyothi Robertson said.

A six-month-old puppy is one of the saddest cases.

"She has demodex, which is a type of mite and what they did is they dripped her with oil, so she has oil and grease all over her. It's a typical street remedy for demodex, but it doesn't work," Robertson said.

An older dog named Spike was covered with cuts and scars. The owner told officers he gave the dogs medical care himself.

"There are staples that have been placed on a wound along the head that looks like an old bite wound," Robertson said.

This is not the first time officers have dealt with Brown. Over the past five or six years, they have seized about 80 dogs from his property -- Oakland law only allows three, but Brown has never been charged.

"He consistently denies fighting dogs. We haven't witnessed him fighting dogs, but it's something we are investigating," David Cronin from Oakland Police said.

Brown told ABC7 his dogs are always well cared for.

"Just walk them, play with them, that type of stuff, I love animals," he said.

He told police he was breeding a special line of dogs for show. And when we asked if he's involved in dog fighting?

"No. If any one of them gets a scar or something, it's from a chain accident, you know they get off the chain or out of a crate," Brown said.

So far, Brown has not been charged. Officers say the investigation may take a couple more days. The dogs are still being treated and evaluated to see if any can be put up for adoption.

Written and produced by Jennifer Olney


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