HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut Attorney General William Tong is seeking permanent state custody of seven pit bulls seized earlier this month amid a police investigation into a suspected multistate dog fighting ring. 

Connecticut State Police raided a home on Grassy Hill Road in Orange on Oct. 5, seizing seven pit bulls found in unsanitary cages in a backyard. Tong secured an order granting the Department of Agriculture temporary care and custody. The dogs are being cared for at the Milford Animal Shelter. 

The attorney general’s office said the seven dogs — Vera, Angie, Zebra, Sypher, Mugshot, Horris, and Lucy — suffered from ear and eye infections and malnutrition and have scars likely caused by bite wounds.

Police also found numerous record books, including a list of approximately 80 dogs possibly involved in dog fighting, dog fighting guides and magazines, breeder information, scales, collars, and veterinary grade equipment and medicine believed to be associated with the dog fighting ring, according to the attorney general’s office. 

“Dog fighting is cruel and illegal,” Tong said. “No animal should ever be treated this way. This is an active and ongoing criminal investigation, and I will continue to work closely with police and the Department of Agriculture to ensure the safe care of each and every dog recovered.”

On July 31, Connecticut State Police raided a property on Britannia Street in Meriden, seizing eight pit bulls found in cages in a backyard. Among the evidence seized at this property was a text message chain with videos of dog and cockfighting operations that led police to the Orange property.

Tong previously moved for state custody of the Meriden dogs. The dogs are currently in the care of the Milford Animal Shelter while that custody case is pending. 

“Dogfighting is a heinous crime that we all take very seriously,” Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt said. “Anyone who suspects dog fighting is happening should report it to the proper authorities.”

Back in September, police in Connecticut arrested three men — Getulio Vargas Maedo, 46, of Bridgeport, Jose Rivera, 42, of Meriden, and Nelson Rivera, 43, of Meriden — in connection to the investigation.