Alleged dog fighting ring uncovered in Riviera Beach - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Alleged dog fighting ring uncovered in Riviera Beach

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By Alex Zequeira email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

RIVIERA BEACH, FL (WFLX) - It's a criminal underground that law enforcement says has been a problem in Palm Beach County for a long time: dog fighting.

Now, one suspected operation foiled saving several dogs from what could have been a life of violence and pain.

It all happened on West 14th Street in Riviera Beach. This all started with a neighbor calling Palm Beach County's Animal Care and Control about possible animal neglect going on.

Detectives came out and not only found that dog, but others being held in what investigators are dubbing a 'pit bull boot camp'.

A search warrant was served Tuesday, and the man supposedly behind it all arrested.

During the arrest, four young pit bulls are rescued from what Animal Care and Control Detectives are calling a makeshift dog fighting boot camp.

"There were dogs that were found individually tethered. There were dogs with wounds on them, fight wounds. There was fighting paraphernalia as you can see there in the truck - training treadmills and training apparatuses," described Det. Cassie Kovacs, PBC Animal Care and Control.

Equipment, investigators say, used by 33-year-old Frank Darryl Huggins. Investigators even discovered weights, they say, may have been tied to the collars on these pups, to strengthen their upper bodies.

"A dog fight never went on here," defended the suspect's sister, Peggy Huggins. "I don't know about the treadmill. I know he put them on to run. But there was never a dog fight here. I can speak that.

Huggins relatives gathered outside the home were the dogs were found to speak out in his defense. They say he loves dogs, but when we questioned them about how he supposedly treated his dogs, they didn't like what they heard.

Mary Huggins, suspect's sister, stated, "They put them on the treadmill. It's just like you strengthen a humans legs. They put the dogs on there to strengthen their legs.

Reporter asked, "What about tieing weights to their collars to make them stronger? You don't often hear about dogs having to carry weights around?"

Mary responded: "Yes you do, black people do. I don't know about white people, but black people do."

But according to detectives, the evidence speaks for itself. Now, they have to determine whether the dogs are healthy and docile enough to put up for adoption or too aggressive in which case they would have to be euthanized.

"There's a lot of it going on. It's just having the public be aware of it. It could be your next door neighbor, and you may not even know it," Det. Cassie Kovacs warned.

That is why investigators want people who may suspect dog fighting or animal neglect to call Crime Stoppers.

As for Huggins, he is expected to be charged with fighting or bating animals, for possessing dog fighting paraphernalia and possessing those dogs.

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