Updated 7/07/2011 at 9:45 p.m .
GARY, Ind. (CBS) — Police have arrested four people and rescued nearly two dozen dogs in connection with a dog-fighting ring in Northwest Indiana.
Lake County Sheriff’s police seized 20 dogs and dog fighting equipment, and experts from the Humane Society helped authorities rescue the animals, according to a news release. The rescue operation targeted two properties in Gary.
Police found another dog chained up a few houses away just outside a garage that officers say doubled as a fighting arena. Spattered blood can be seen in a pen where police believe the dogs were actually fought.
Police confiscated a training treadmill, several guns, and sticks used to pry dogs’ clenched jaws apart too.
Brandon J. Peterson, Sammie J. Jones, Clifton Harris, and Willie Hargrove were each arrested and charged with promoting animal fighting, a class D felony in Indiana.
“We are happy we could work in cooperation with The Humane Society of the United States to rescue these poor animals,” Lake County Sheriff John A. Buncich said in a statement.
“We hope this raid helps to put a stop to dog fighting, and we are thankful a member of our community called our tip line to report this illegal activity.”
The Humane Society rescue team is transporting the dogs to an undisclosed location where they will receive treatment.
“No dog should have to live like this. It’s absolutely unforgivable that any dog should have to live in this condition,” said Anne Sterling, the Indiana state director of the Humane Society of the United States.
The charges carry a penalty of up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The Humane Society estimates that 40,000 people follow organized dog fighting circuits across the U.S. while an additional 100,000 meet on neighborhood streets, alleys and hideaways.