Owner Speaks Out after 10 Dogs Seized from Fluvanna Home
Brenton Mathis shows NBC29 where his dogs live
FLUVANNA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -
A Fluvanna County man whose 10 pit bulls were seized by police Thursday is speaking out about what he calls an unexpected raid.
Deputies believe Brenton Mathis may have been running a dog fighting ring. But he says his pit bulls are well taken care of and loved.
The Sheriff's Office and crews with other state agencies showed up at Mathis' mother's home Thursday with a search warrant. After what his mother called five hours of chaos, they left with 10 dogs - all American pit bull terriers, Mathis says.
"I'm trying to figure out why they took the animals and why I didn't have a chance to explain to them and show them these animals," Mathis said.
Mathis showed NBC29 where he says the dogs live. In the woods about 30 feet behind his mother's home are two large cages, several doghouses and a wide-open, muddy space. Though Mathis admits the dogs can get aggressive with one another, he says the open space has never served as a dog fighting ring.
Mathis says he and his family have been raising pit bulls for 15 years, breeding them occasionally. He says investigators took a canine treadmill and a cowhide in as evidence.
Cowhides can be used to strengthen dogs' jaws, but Mathis says it was simply a toy.
"You had a house full of little kids crying, they putting the dogs up there," said Mathis' mother, Trudy Bradley. "If their purpose was to come and check on the health of the dogs, they would have left them down there because there was nothing wrong with them."
Bradley says two of the dogs have scars but that they are from protecting themselves from stray animals on the property. Both Mathis and his mother say there has never been a dog fighting ring on the property.
The dogs are currently being cared for by the state. Mathis is scheduled to appear in court next week for an animal custody hearing.
The Sheriff's Office is waiting on forensic evidence from the state-appointed veterinarian before pressing any charges. Depending on the results of those tests, Mathis could face felony charges.
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