Alabama police on Sunday uncovered what appeared to be a dog-fighting ring.
Around 11:30 a.m., authorities responded to a complaint of dogs fighting in the Mulga area of Jefferson County, the Birmingham News reported.
The responding officers heard what sounded like dogs fighting in the wooded area behind the reported home, Chief Deputy Randy Christian told the paper.
As the deputies approached the woods, they reportedly saw a juvenile carrying a wounded dog, the report said. The deputies then found a ring with 17 pit bulls – four of which displayed evidence of fighting – and fresh blood inside, Christian said.
Animal control responded to the scene while the sheriff’s office took custody of the dogs.
Investigators recovered 11 dog skulls and a suspect was taken into custody, Christian said.
"It's gut-wrenching and heartbreaking,'' Christian told the News. "The fact that some people can see it as a sport to facilitate or be an audience for is just despicable and hard to comprehend."
"It's gut-wrenching and heartbreaking. The fact that some people can see [dog fighting] as a sport to facilitate or be an audience for is just despicable and hard to comprehend."
The suspect was being held in Jefferson County jail on a $15,000 bond and awaiting formal charges, Birmingham's FOX 6 reported. He was identified as Reginald Antonio Dowdell, 42.
Animal Care and Control is now taking care of the dogs, WKRG-TV reported.