ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Fifteen dogs have been removed from a property in southwest Missouri, and rescuers said Thursday they feared the animals were involved in dogfighting.
The raid on Wednesday near Kimberling City followed a seven-month investigation, the Humane Society of Missouri said. There was no immediate word if anyone had been arrested. Phone messages left with the Stone County Sheriff's Department were not returned.
The Humane Society said it rescued seven adult pit bulls and eight puppies from property owned by someone allegedly involved in dogfighting. The organization said many of the dogs had old and new wounds, and most were attached to heavy log chains with thick collars.
The owner of the animals voluntarily surrendered them. The dogs were taken to the Humane Society facility in St. Louis for treatment, with the goal of eventually placing them up for adoption.
"We are committed to working with law enforcement to eliminate the brutal and illegal dogfighting activities throughout Missouri," said Debbie Hill, vice president of operations for the Humane Society of Missouri.
The dogs were found on a wooded hillside, out of view. The Humane Society said the property included several abandoned trucks, dilapidated buildings and trash.
The rescue came on the one-year anniversary of the largest dogfighting raid in U.S. history, when 26 suspects were arrested and more than 500 dogs seized in a series of raids in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. Animal advocates have said 160 of the dogs were euthanized because of injuries, illness or behavior that made them unacceptable for adoption.
So far, 17 defendants have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to federal prison, the Humane Society said.