SPCA, police continue investigation into possible E. Germantown dog-fighting ring [updated]

When Philadelphia Police responded to a domestic disturbance call on the 6300 block of Norwood St. on Tuesday afternoon, they found evidence of a wide array of crimes.

Officer Christine O’Brien, a police-department spokeswoman, said Wednesday that seven dogs believed to be involved in a fighting ring, drugs and a stolen motorcycle were found inside the East Germantown home.

According to an NBC10 report, a neighboring property was “covered with blood.”

Dual investigation

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When it comes to the animals, the SPCA takes the investigative lead, she said.

“When we arrive on the scene, if there are animals at a location, they come to secure the animals,” said O’Brien. “If they find that there is legitimate dog-fighting activity going on, that can lead to a felony charge.”

Shawn Peterson, a 35-year-old resident of that location, was arrested on drug-possession and stolen-vehicle charges.

In addition to the dogs, a cat and a kitten were also recovered and were being examined at the SPCA’s headquarters, located at 350 E. Erie Ave., on Wednesday.

Wendy Marano, SPCA spokeswoman, told NewsWorks the case remains under investigation by a team of humane officers.


On Thursday, Marano updated NewsWorks on the investigation.

“Most of the dogs were in good shape. However, one of the pit-bull mixes has several fresh wounds on the torso, face and extremities,” said Marano. “There was also lots of scars and signs of older healed wounds that appeared consistent with past animal fighting.”

Marano said a forensic exam is being done to determine how the wounds occurred.

Of the seven dogs found, there were pit-bull and Mastiff mixes, as well as two English Bulldogs.

The SPCA had warrants to search the home and two adjacent properties.

“Inside the building, the one room was empty and appeared to be used as a fighting ring,” said Marano. “There were blood stains over all four walls about one- or two-feet high all around the room and on the floor.”

She said the scene was consistent with fighting because the dogs get injured and pin each other up against walls. Samples of blood and photos were also taken as evidence.

“We are still investigating,” said Marano. “There are several individuals associated with the properties and we are conducting interviews to determine who exactly the dogs belonged to, who is responsible.”

The animals were not surrendered by the owners and are being held in protective custody by the SPCA.

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