BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Sheriff's Office rescued eight dogs believed to be used as bait during dog fights from a vacant lot last week in the south part of the city, the department said Tuesday.
On April 26, the Sheriff's Office, along with an animal enforcement officer from the county, went into the community to identify potential code violations and educate pet owners.
The group didn't expect to find a lot of abused and abandoned dogs.
Rather, they intended to spend the day issuing warnings and giving information about anti-tethering laws. But while they were patrolling the end of Leonard Street, deputies spotted a pack of dogs in deplorable conditions.
Some were tethered with heavy chains — one weighed more than 10 pounds — and others locked in makeshift kennels, stuck living in their own feces.
Because the property is owned by the county, deputies were able to immediately remove the dogs and take them to the Hernando County Animal Shelter.
In October, the Sheriff's Office rescued 19 dogs and two puppies kept in similar conditions at 852 Twigg St. There was evidence those dogs were being used in fights, which resulted in two arrests. Deputies said it's unclear who owns the eight dogs they rescued last week.
Sheriff Al Nienhuis said he's working to fill community policing units to cover the southern area of Brooksville that had been cut in years past.
"One of their first projects is to address many of the quality of life issues in the south Brooksville community," he said in a prepared statement. "My office is committed to working with the community and the Board of County Commissioners to address all the concerns of this long-standing Hernando County neighborhood."
The Sheriff's Office said its community policing unit will have increased patrols in the south Brooksville so deputies can work with citizens to reduce crime and dog fighting.
Anyone interested in adopting one or more of the rescued dogs can contact HCAS at 352-796-5062.
Contact Sara DiNatale at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @sara_dinatale.