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13 pit bulls rescued from alleged dogfighting operation in north St. Louis County

The ASPCA got involved in the rescue efforts following an I-Team report on an alleged Hanley Hills dogfighting ring.

HANLEY HILLS, Mo. — All 13 dogs taken out of a dogfighting operation in north St. Louis County have been rescued, 5 On Your Side has learned.

Following an I-Team report, Terry Mills of the ASPCA contacted one of the rescue groups working to save the dogs from euthanasia at the St. Louis County Animal Control Center.

Mills is a former Missouri Highway Patrol trooper who spent more than a year undercover as a dogfighter.

His work was part of the Missouri 500 case in which more than 500 pit bulls were rescued from dogfighting rings across Missouri and Illinois.

RELATED: I-Team: Former officer shares experience working undercover as dogfighter in Missouri, Illinois

He now works as the Director of Blood Sport Investigations for the ASPCA.

The organization took six dogs out of the facility Wednesday to be rehabilitated out-of-state.

In a statement, the ASPCA wrote: “Our priority is to provide these dogs with specialized medical care and behavioral treatment and enrichment with the hope that they can be adopted into loving homes. The ASPCA believes that all dogs, including those seized in suspected dogfighting cases, should be viewed as individuals and carefully evaluated to determine the most appropriate and humane course of action.”

Two local rescue groups took the other dogs and placed them in foster care.

“Today is my happy day,” said the leader of one of the rescue organizations, who asked that her name not be used out of safety concerns. “I actually didn’t think they would make it out of there.”

North County Police Cooperative investigators arrested 57-year-old Brian Maclin of Hanley Hills earlier this month.

RELATED: Man charged after police find alleged dog-fighting ring in north St. Louis County raid

St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell’s Office issued multiple charges including one felony count of dog fighting, one count of misdemeanor animal neglect or abandonment and 12 counts of misdemeanor animal abuse.

Police discovered 12 dogs living inside a detached garage that had no air conditioning in it and little to no light. Another dog was leashed to a fence outside.

The investigation began after someone called police, concerned that a dog was being kept on a chain outside Maclin’s house 24/7 in the village of about 2,000 people in north St. Louis County.

Officers heard dogs barking from inside the garage.

Once inside it, they found “cages upon cages” inside and one dog with a jaw hanging off of its face, according to police.

Photos of the police raid showed some dogs kept in wooden cabinetry-like cages in almost complete darkness inside the garage, which looked to be smaller than a 15-by-15-foot building.

Maclin posted 10% of his $25,000 bail Monday.

His bond conditions include no alcohol, drugs, firearms, contact with the victims or any animals. He also has an app on his phone tracking his whereabouts.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 4.

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