Police: Dogfight ring busted

Posted: February 03, 2010

Philadelphia police and Pennsylvania SPCA officials broke up an alleged dogfighting ring early yesterday in North Philadelphia and arrested the owner of the home where the dogs were found, police said.

The incident began about 12:40 a.m. when police were called to Franklin Street near Montgomery Avenue in North Philadelphia after a report of a shooting inside a Chinese food store, police said.

"A 47-year-old man inside was approached by a man known to him from the neighborhood who said, 'This is what you get for stealing from people,' " said Lt. Frank Vanore, a police spokesman.

The man was shot in the right thigh and pelvis. He was taken to Temple University Hospital in stable condition. He was able to tell police who his shooter was, Vanore said.

Officers were on patrol on nearby Delhi Street near Dauphin about 2:30 a.m. because the shooter was known to frequent a home in the area, police said.

When officers arrived, they noticed dogs in the back yard and several types of paraphrenalia specific to dogfighting.

Police have not connected the shooter to the dogfighting, Vanore said.

The cops called officers from the SPCA who then secured a search warrant and found seven pit bulls, one of whom was deceased inside the home.

The owner of the home, Shelly Lowry, 36, was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals and related charges.

"We had the location under investigation for the past few months relative to dog fighting," said Nicole Wilson, case manager for law enforcement for Pennsylvania SPCA.

Most of the dogs had scars and injuries from possibly more recent fights and one dog was recovering from surgery to treat a large abscess on the side of its face that was untreated, Wilson said.

"This area was very much an area for training and for dogs in the process of gearing up for their first fight," Wilson said.

The dogs will be in the care of the SPCA until the case against Lowry is fully adjudicated; their wounds will be treated and they will work on behavioral issues consistent with this type of abuse, Wilson said.

"It's very difficult, not impossible, but difficult - once the dog has been trained to fight - to rehabilitate," Wilson said. "It's a long process with varying results."

If you know or suspect of any cruelty to animals in your neighborhood, you are asked to call the anonymous tipline at 1-866-601- SPCA.

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