Bengal tiger case, dog fights prompt special training for Dallas police
10:57 AM CDT on Thursday, March 12, 2009
DALLAS — Pit Bulls, roosters and even a Bengal tiger have all been a part of a troubling trend in Dallas — blood sports that leave the animals maimed or dead.
Police say their owners are usually involved in other violent crimes. Dallas police are so concerned, they’re beginning to train officers to deal with these special cases.
Dog fighting is a harsh reality. Jay Sabatucci, Texas state director for the Humane Society of the United States, says his organization is seeing drug dealers and gangs getting involved in the illegal sport. “Animal fighting is the sport of methamphetamine traffickers, and we are seeing a lot more of that happening,” Sabatucci said.
It’s become such a big problem, Dallas police are now offering training classes so officers know how to use animal cruelty arrests to lead to bigger arrests.
“It’s a whole criminal underground that needs to be dealt with by police,” Sabatucci said. “The police are finally looking at that and they realize they can get good arrests and felony charges against people who are abusing animals.”
There was one such case in December 2007 when a dead Bengal tiger was found along a Dallas highway. She had been shot five times.
News 8 has learned the death of the tiger was subsequently linked to a notorious west Dallas gang that kept the tiger in a house.
Dallas police are currently working some big cases involving illegal dog fighting and gambling. They’ve even formed a task force to deal with this problem.