Police: Josephine Co. dogs being abducted, forced into fighting rings

Josephine County, Ore. — Animal control officers in Josephine County are seeing a direct link between missing dogs and evidence of an illegal dog fighting ring in Southern Oregon. Now, a woman whose dog is missing said she has a warning for other pet owners.

Jacquee Arzadon described 2-year-old Pi. “She’s a Catahoula Leopard dog–she kind of looks like a lab, most people wouldn’t know what she is if they saw her.”

Pi has been missing since October 8th. Arzadon knows she didn’t run away. She said, “We checked our surveillance cameras where we saw, that as we left, the gate stays open for 45 seconds or so, she wandered out the gate, and within a minute or so of her wandering out the gate, we saw headlights.”

Arzadon said a utility like-truck stopped near the driveway for about a minute–and Pi was gone.

It wasn’t until this week that she connected the dots on Facebook.

“Somebody was saying something, you know, about a dog being picked up,” said Arzadon. “An animal shelter officer just letting people know in their area to keep their dogs safe.”

That Josephine County Animal Control officer was David Pitts.

“We see more and more lost dog posters, and they all seem to be bully breeds, German shepherds, heelers, labs,” said Officer Pitts.

Pitts said some of those missing dogs have been found dead up and down Interstate 5 in Josephine County.

But the animals aren’t just being taken from houses and yards. Officer Pitts said, “The other day I was in a parking lot out at a well-known store, and caught some people trying to load some dogs up, and they ended up getting one, it was a big yellow lab.”

That lab, named Finley, was rescued by Pitts. The dog’s collar was found buried in the dirt a short distance away.

Because Finley had a chip, he was reunited with his owners.  But Pitts said it could have–and usually ends up being– a much different outcome. “They’ll throw two dogs in the back of a camper shell, or else, in the trunk of a car, and they’ll drive up I-5, so it’s a portable dog fighting ring. They’ll pull over, they’ll take a picture of the dog that’s alive and the dog that’s dead, and they’ll text it back to their friends, is what I was told, and they’ll make the bet pay, and then they come up here and dispose of the dogs.”

Pitts currently has more than ten open cases related to these illegal rings–a problem that he says is just now becoming public.

As for Arzadon and her family, they’re fearing the worst, but still hoping for the best. “We don’t know what happened to her, we have to be hopeful that someone took her that wants to love her… sorry. But if she took a different fate, it’s heartbreaking.”

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