Three pit bulls and a puppy suspected of being a part of a dog fighting ring have been rescued by Indian River County police.
The dogs were found at a home located at 4565 33rd Avenue in Vero Beach, and had injuries consistent with dog fighting, according to officials.
When police found the dogs, they were tied down with heavy chains, and were in poor health without access to food or water.
Police found the dogs after receiving calls from several anonymous tipsters about a home where neighbors suspected drug deals were going down.
The Indian River County Multi Agency Criminal Enforcement Unit served a warrant for the home in question and when they went in to investigate, they found the two adult pit bulls and puppy. Two of the dogs had to be tranquilized by police after they became dangerously aggressive.
After further investigating the home, police found cocaine and marijuana, and seized more than $900 in cash.
Police arrested Charles Stokes, 26, Jomeka Thomas, 27, Rone Jackson, 35, and Alphonso Phinizee, 37.
Stokes was charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and destruction of evidence.
Phinizee was charged with animal cruelty, unlawful confinement/abandonment of a dog and possession of marijuana under 20 grams.
The dogs were rescued and handed over to the local Humane Society where they were treated for their injuries and ill-health.
Dog fighting in Florida is considered a 3rd degree felony, and carries a maximum of five years in prison, and a $5,000 fine for fighting dogs, being a spectator of dog fighting, or owning a dog trained specifically for dog fighting.
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