Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say detectives who searched a northwest Charlotte house during a drug investigation last week found 15 pit bull dogs one of them dead and evidence of a dog-fighting operation.
This is the first dog fighting-related case weve seen this year, said Capt. Chris Dozier, head of CMPDs Animal Care and Control division. We dont think the fighting took place there. It could have been a training site.
Dozier estimated hes seen only about a half-dozen such cases in the past 18 months to two years.
On Jan. 24, police arrested two men at the single-story house on Grier Avenue Daran Dejuan Goines and Cyril Joseph Baldeagle, each 30. Both face drug trafficking charges, and Goines also was charged with dog fighting and baiting, police say.
CMPD spokesman Rob Tufano said members of the police gang unit got a search warrant because of suspected drug activity at the house, in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood between Beatties Ford Road and Interstate 77.
Two neighbors spoke to an Observer reporter on Tuesday on the condition they not be identified.
I was shocked, said one woman, who lived a few doors from Goines and Baldeagle. I had no idea that was going on.
I didnt even know they had dogs, said an older man, who also lives on the same street.
Dogs seem in good health
Detectives say they found evidence to support their suspicions about a drug operation more than $68,000 in cash and 10 pounds of marijuana. They also confiscated two rifles, two handguns and a bulletproof vest. In addition, police say, they found ledgers, medication and other items that could be used in a dog-fighting operation.
Goines was charged with dog fighting and baiting; trafficking marijuana; maintaining a dwelling for the sale of a controlled substance; and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Baldeagle does not face dog-related charges. He was accused by police of trafficking marijuana; possession of drug paraphernalia; and carrying a concealed weapon.
There were no complaints from neighbors about this residence, Dozier said. But that speaks to the sophistication of dog-fighting operations. They know what not to do in public.
From what I understand, people in this (dog-fighting) business move from house to house.
The dogs are being treated at CMPDs animal shelter on Byrum Drive in west Charlotte. The pit bulls, eight adults and six puppies, appear to be in good health, police say.
Typically, dogs that are trained to fight are not aggressive with people, Dozier said. They save that for other dogs. The kind of dogs that are aggressive with humans are those that are trained to protect people.
Dozier said he hopes the dogs eventually can be put up for adoption. Before that, however, CMPD must be granted permanent possession of the animals. Authorities say it is possible the dogs will be given to a rescue group, which in turn will handle the adoption.
The dogs confiscated last week displayed varying degrees of friendliness Tuesday when visited by media members. One black female tucked her tail between her legs and hid from visitors. Another, a fawn-colored male, wagged his tail and tried to get passersby to pet him.
To find an operation like this, we need help from the public, or we need our officers to be aware of the signs of a dog-fighting operation, Dozier said. Were working on that.