CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have arrested two local men, charging them in connection with a dog-fighting ring just yards from an elementary school.
Police told Eyewitness News they arrested Melvin Smith and Lefonze Williams and charged them with felony training animals with the purpose of dog fighting and baiting.
"These dogs unfortunately have been turned by a human into something violent," said Lt. J.D. Thomas of CMPD.
Animal control officers showed Eyewitness News on Saturday some of the 27 pit bulls seized from the house. Many of them had scars all over their bodies police said were consistent with dog fighting.
"It's heart-breaking. It's the worst thing somebody could do to an animal," said Shannon Corkwell an Enforcement Supervisor with Charlotte's Animal Control.
Police said they also found two dead dogs at the home, along with treadmills, a dog-fighting arena and medicine used to patch up wounded dogs. Police called it one of the largest dog-fighting operations they've investigated to date.
Police said they received a tip from the public and moved quickly because JH Gunn Elementary school is just half a mile away.
"If you get an injured dog that gets out it could be very dangerous to the public," said Thomas.
Officials said the dogs were being held as evidence and a judge would decide whether they would be adopted out to the public.