SOUTH BOUND BROOK -- As officers approached the home on Edgewood Terrace in South Bound Brook, authorities said, the sounds coming from the basement were unmistakeable:
Dogs crying, barking and growling. People shouting, clapping and whistling.
Once inside, authorities said, the officers discovered a large, blood-stained fighting ring. Next to it was a bucket filled with bloody water and a blood-soaked rag.
Four pit bulls — all with facial injuries — were in crates. One dog had an injured leg. A fifth dog, its face bloodied, was locked inside a bathroom. The room was damaged, apparently because the animal trying to escape, Detective Sgt. Francisco Roman of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, said in his report.
Police, drawn to the house Sunday afternoon after receiving an anonymous tip about an alleged dog fighting operation, arrested five people on charges of animal fighting and animal cruelty, authorities said today.
"There was no visible food or water for any of the dogs and no accessories commonly found with pet dogs," Roman said.
Five children between the ages of 5 to 9, were also in the house. The state Division of Youth and Family Services released them to relatives, Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne Forrest said.
Arrested were Artamas Miller, 39, of Plainfield; his girlfriend, Kaysona Miller, 27, who lived in the Edgewood Terrace home; Barry Norman, 28, of South Bound Brook; Mylyn Robinson, 28, of Newark; and Armin Spann, 31, of North Plainfield.
Kaysona Miller allowed officers to enter the home, according to Roman’s arrest report. Her boyfriend was discovered in a closet of an unoccupied apartment on the second floor and was additionally charged with criminal trespass, hindering apprehension and criminal mischief, Forest said.
According to Roman’s arrest report, Kaysona Miller told police Artamas Miller asked her if Norman could bring his dog to the house. After she granted the request, the others brought dogs over as well, the report said.
The dogs were first taken to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, but later transferred to other facilities because they posed a danger to the staff, said Jacqueline Fahey, the center’s animal welfare director. They have since been determined to be unfit for adoption and will be euthanized, Forrest said.
The dogs, all male, weighed about 45 pounds and none had been neutered. Most of the injuries appeared to be abrasions and old bite wounds, Fahey said.
The investigation is ongoing, and part of that will be determining who owned the animals, Forrest said.
Anyone with information may contact South Bound Brook police at (732) 356-0087, the prosecutor’s Major Crimes Squad at (908) 231-7100 or Crime Stoppers of Somerset County at (888) 577-TIPS (8477). Citizens can also go on line at http://www.888577tips.org and click "Give Tips" or http://www.scpo.net and click "Crime Stoppers."
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