BRANDON — The two small Malteses were free to roam the house, while the pit bulls stood in waste inside elevated 4-foot by 8-foot plywood boxes, according to Hillsborough County Animal Services.
The adult pit bulls — with prominent bite marks and gashes — were raised for fighting, investigators say.
The Sheriff's Office arrested Roland Sims, 34, Tuesday on eight counts of owning dogs for fighting, three counts of fighting animals, three counts of breeding fighting dogs, two charges of cruelty to animals and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Acting on an anonymous tip, an investigator for Animal Services visited 1319 N Taylor Road and discovered dogs with scars consistent with fighting, according to a Sheriff's Office report. When the investigator returned with a search warrant and sheriff's deputies the next day, three of the dogs had been removed.
One red male pit bull with injuries on his face and front legs remained, along with two other pit bulls. Two ailing pit bull puppies had been infected with a bacteria transmitted through fecal matter.
The dogs were kept in elevated boxes, which had wooden slats on the bottom, according to Sgt. Pam Perry of Animal Services. On two sides the boxes had chain link for ventilation. The cages were hosed down with the dogs inside, she said.
Animal Services plans to ask a court to prevent Sims or his wife, Clarencia April Gordon, from keeping dogs.
Sims admitted to deputies that he bred and sold the dogs for fighting, according the Sheriff's Office report.
In April 2008, Sims was cited for not registering animals and for not having up-to-date rabies vaccinations. He has also faced a string of criminal charges over the years. In 1999, he was convicted of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a felony.
Tuesday, authorities confiscated the two Malteses, along with the pit bulls and a bull terrier.
"We've got custody of the animals right now," Perry said. "We don't want him to own any animals again."
Eric P. Newcomer can be reached at (813) 226-3401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.