SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - It's a heart-breaking scene that animal protection officer Emylee Tolliver saw first hand: a pit-bull tied up to a dumpster behind Trentwood Elementary, covered in blood."
"I was pretty shocked. I was kind of expecting a routine call," Tolliver told KHQ. "The amount of blood I saw at the scene didn't come from just this dog." The dog had injures so severe, it had to be put down.
"Its tongue had been injured severely, it had wounds to its trachea and esophagus which would indicate it had been grabbed by the throat," Tolliver said.
Based on its injuries, Tolliver thinks the pit bull was used in a dog fighting ring; a fight she believes happened at that very dumpster. She says there are several levels of dog fighting - sometimes involving gambling, drugs and spectators.
"They go generally for the throat, the ears, the back of the neck where they can grab on, and the dog that incurs the most injuries is the loser, and the one who has the fewest is the winner," Tolliver explained.
But based on the amount of blood she saw at the scene, she thinks there's another dog out there who suffered even more.
"The dog I found was the winner," Tolliver guessed.
In her 16 years as an animal protection officer, Tolliver says there has been one local conviction for dog fighting, but she sees a handful of suspected cases every year, leading her to believe the crime is happening in Spokane County more than we may realize.
"We come across evidence of it more often than people would like to think," she added.
But it's often hard to prosecute. That's why SCRAPS is counting on your tips to help crack the case. If you saw anything suspicious near Trentwood Elementary, or know of anyone who may be involved, call them at 509-477-2532.
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE FROM SCRAPS:
Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) continues to investigate a possible dog-fighting ring in the City of Spokane Valley.
Earlier this month, an animal protection officer responded to a call at Trentwood Elementary. The officer found a pit bull tied to a dumpster covered in blood. The animal was taken to a veterinarian who saw old injuries as well as new wounds, indicating this dog may have been involved in a series of dog fights. Unfortunately, the extent of the injuries was so severe that the dog had to be euthanized.
SCRAPS is asking any persons with information to please call them immediately at (509) 477-2532. Animal Cruelty 1st Degree (R.C.W. 16.52.2) and Animal Fighting (R.C.W. 16.52.117) are class C Felonies, punishable by five-years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Since the story was released, the Humane Society of the United States is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of animal cruelty. In addition, private citizens have contacted SCRAPS today and have donated another $1,750, increasing the reward to a total of $4,250.
The public may also donate to SCRAPS to support humane education to help reduce or eliminate animal cruelty and dog-fighting in our community. An informational flyer is attached "How to Identify Possible Dog Fighting In Your Neighborhood".
For more information, contact SCRAPS at (509) 477-2532 or go to www.spokanecounty.org/scraps.
Signs of Dog Fighting Activity