Pit bulls seized from Fairfax man suspected of running dogfighting operation

September 10, 2012

Police seized nine pit bulls and various training devices from a man suspected of running a dogfighting operation from the backyard of his Fairfax County home, according to a newly unsealed search warrant.

Eduardo Valdez has been cited for being an unfit animal owner, according to Fairfax County police, but does not currently face dogfighting charges. The investigation is ongoing, police said.

Officers served a search warrant Wednesday at Valdez’s home in the 4500 block of Tipton Lane in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County. Police had received a tip in February from a citizen who said Valdez might be involved in dogfighting, according to the search warrant.

Officers removed numerous items from Valdez’s home that are commonly used in dogfighting operations, including a dog treadmill, an electric collar, a stick used to pry a dog’s jaws apart and a “rape stand,” which is used to restrain female dogs while they are bred with aggressive male dogs, according to the warrant. Police also removed a taxidermied pit bull from Valdez’s home.

Valdez had requested a modification to the number of animals that could be kept on the property under Fairfax County’s zoning ordinances, but the warrant did not specify when.

A county animal-control officer who was on the property in 2009 reported finding a spring-loaded training device, a heavy bag and a halter device, according to the warrant. The devices are commonly used to condition and strengthen dogs for fighting, the warrant said.

A photograph of the rear of Valdez’s home showed a six-foot stockade-style fence around the backyard, according to the warrant. Inside that fence, the photograph showed another stockade that enclosed dog kennels. The officer who filed the warrant wrote that the design seemed intended to keep the dogs from seeing each other.

In 2009, Valdez took a pit bull to an animal hospital; the dog had scarring consistent with fighting, according to the warrant.

Valdez could not be immediately contacted.

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