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Minneapolis home raided after repeated reports of alleged dogfighting operation

Updated: August 26, 2019 03:17 PM

It wasn't just one complaint, but several complaints that a dog fighting operation might exist in a Minneapolis neighborhood.

Minneapolis police along with Minneapolis Animal Care & Control, collaborating as part of the Minneapolis Animal Crimes Unit.  raided the home on the 600 block of Oliver Avenue North at the end of July. Another search warrant was executed at 702 Oliver Avenue NOrth.  In a newly released search warrant, officers detailed what they were looking for, such as items associated with dog and cockfighting, treadmills, equipment used in training, kennels and koops.

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Other items included spring poles, weights, digital scales, guns and money. The document stated given one of the suspect's history of weapons, narcotics, gang involvement and previous arrests for blood sports like dog and cockfighting, there would be no warning before the raid.

 "Everything was pretty silent and then it was like a quiet standoff," said neighbor Kong Thao.

The probe was part of an ongoing animal cruelty and neglect investigation. City records indicate the handful of suspects are related and some live on the same street, Oliver Avenue North. One resident who answered the door, said her sons live there and they are not into dogfighting.


How to spot animal cruelty

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals states the following can be physical and environmental signs of animal cruelty:

  • A collar that has caused a neck wound
  • Open wounds on the animal
  • Untreated skin issues, such as loss of hair and rashes
  • Extreme thinness or emaciation
  • Fur that has parasites, such as ticks or fleas
  • The inability to stand or walk normally
  • Signs of confusion or extreme drowsiness
  • Heavy discharge from the eyes or nose

How to report animal cruelty

Those who want to make a report of animal abuse or neglect can do so via the Minnesota Federated Humane Societies.* The organization investigates reports statewide. Call 612-866-8663 or email to contact for incidents related to animal abuse. Those who wish to report dogfighting specifically can call 1-877-TIP-HSUS (1-800-847-4787) which will reach the U.S. Humane Society's specific hotline.

Those who want to make reports also should contact their local law enforcement agencies. In Minneapolis, people should report animal abuse and/or neglect to the Minneapolis Police Department or Minneapolis Animal Care & Control.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals advises those who want to make a report to follow these tips:

  • Write a concise and factual statement that includes dates and approximate times, if possible, in the abuse report.
  • Include photographs, if possible, of the area in which the animals are living as well as the animals themselves.
  • Include the names and contact information of those who have firsthand information about the abusive situation.
  • Although it's possible to make an anonymous report, the ASPCA suggests the people making the report to consider providing their contact information since it's more likely law enforcement will follow up with reports if there are credible witnesses.

The court document says police found all sorts of paraphernalia used in animal fighting like guns, a large amount of cash, kennels and feed sitting in plain view. Plus, they came across multiple large dogs.  Any suspected crimes against animals in Minneapolis, should be reported to MPD or MACC. 

In Minnesota, it's a felony to use an animal for fighting, promote the event or be a spectator. Ashley Pudas is an investigator with the Animal Humane Society, who covers territories outside of Minneapolis. 

"The animals are subjected to horrendous pain, before, during and after the fights they suffer," she said.

One of the suspects named in the Minneapolis search warrant, 50-year-old Kenny Vang, had previously been arrested and charged in Pine County in connection with a large rooster fighting event held along State Highway 48 in Hinckley. He will be in court next week for that case. 

The Pine County Sheriff's Office along with the Animal Humane Society said 11 fighting birds were recovered. 


More from KSTP:

Property owner at Wisconsin home where 1,300 animals were seized charged with drug crimes

1,300 animals seized from alleged dog, cockfighting operation in Wisconsin


*KSTP has issued a correction. The initial organization mentioned was the Minnesota Humane Society. This has been corrected with the correct organization to contact regarding animal abuse statewide. 

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Beth McDonough

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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