Bulgarian police have arrested two men in connection with illegal dog fighting involving pitbulls in the northern industrial zone of the country’s second city, Plovdiv.
A police operation on the morning of October 29 at business premises in the northern part of Plovdiv found 49 pitbull dogs, chained and kept in a large number of kennels.
Investigators found an illegal dog fighting arena and an illegal clinic.
Animal care specialists were called to pick up the dogs.
Georgi Bozhev, director of the veterinary complex in Plovdiv, told reporters, “basically, what we saw on site were facilities for training dogs for fights. I cannot say any dog there was in very poor condition, some had marks on them indicating that they had taken part in fights”.
The arena where the dogfights took place had traces of blood.
A report by public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television said that workers in the neighbourhood said that it was known for years that dog fighting had taken place at the site. One of those taken into custody was “notorious” for raising pitbulls for fighting.
Bozhev said that the dog pound in Plovdiv had limited capacity, but municipal authorities had been informed about the case and a solution would be sought.
Part of the investigation is whether a veterinarian was involved in the criminal activity.
Those taken into custody were a 48-year-old company owner and his 23-year-old son. The company owner, identified in local media as Ivan Ivanov, reportedly was a former policeman. The two were in 24-hour custody pending charges under the Penal Code, the Interior Ministry said.
Local media said that the police responded after a report that the mutilated bodies of pitbulls had been found in the area.
The dogs confiscated at the site were of various ages, male and female, some mothers with newborns. Some had serious injuries, local media reports said.
The “veterinary clinic” at the site was found to contain multiple medications.
It is alleged that the dogs were trained for fighting at an early age, and for this purpose a specially adapted wooden treadmill was used.
(Photos: Bulgarian Interior Ministry press centre)