The tip relayed to Detroit Pit Crew mentioned only 10 puppies and their mother suspected of being used for fighting on the city’s southwest side.

But what volunteers with the nonprofit dog rescue found when they reached the house Monday afternoon shocked them: 14 pit bull mixes ranging in age from about 13 weeks to 3 years — some underfed, bearing gruesome, bleeding wounds.

“It was surprising to see so many dogs in bad condition like this in one location,” founder/director Theresa Sumpter said.

The dogs were surrendered to Detroit Pit Crew, which is requesting donations to aid their recovery before each can find new owners.

“I don’t think it’s fair that they were born or sold or stolen and ended up in the hands of a dog-fighter. They’re dogs — they didn’t choose this life,” Sumpter said. “They deserve to have a happy life and a loving home, and that’s what we want to give them.”

Her group has handled other cases involving suspected dog-fighting, so it wasn’t surprising that an unidentified informer tipped off an area police officer who works with the group, Sumpter said.

They found about nine dogs chained up in a backyard. Some appeared to have dog houses, straw and bowls yet no food, Sumpter said. “That’s why they were so thin,” she said. “It was definitely not a situation these dogs should be in.”

Worse scenes awaited inside the house. One of Sumpter’s assistants heard an animal “scream” before the occupants opened the door. The group found dogs in “horrific” conditions, she said.

A female with cuts seeping blood was crammed into a tiny crate. Another, now named Athena, believed to be about 9 months old displayed numerous cuts; a veterinarian later determined she had some 113 bite wounds, skin infections and a fractured leg, Sumpter said.

“When they went to do her heart worm test, they didn’t even know where to draw the blood from because she just had so many bite wounds all over her,” the Detroit Pit Crew director said.

The people at the home, who appeared to lack any ownership or vaccination records, surrendered all 14 dogs to the Detroit Pit Crew, which rushed them to two veterinary hospitals, Sumpter said.

Leaders of the group, which last month rescued a 2-year-old mastiff mix that appeared to have been mutilated, are seeking charges but acknowledge convictions for dog-fighting are difficult without ample proof.

Detroit police are investigating the case; charges have not been filed, Officer Dan Donakowski said. Sumpter said two people at the home were arrested Monday on unrelated outstanding warrants.

Meanwhile, six dogs were deemed fit for transfer to another shelter, she said. The rest remain hospitalized with broken or missing teeth and acute gashes.

“They all have to be on antibiotics, they’re going to have to be temperament-tested. Some of them are going out to boarding facilities, where they’ll have trainers that work with them. And then the ones that still need more medical care will remain at the vet’s office until they’re healthy enough to be moved,” Sumpter said. “These dogs are going to need a lot of TLC.”

That’s why her group is turning to the public for help paying their expenses. Donations can be made through the nonprofit’s Paypal account at; by mailing a check to P.O. Box 380553, Clinton Township, MI 48038; or at, where supporters have given more than $5,500 of the $15,000 goal.

“What a horrible world these poor animals were brought in to, now they can have a chance at a forever home,” one donor wrote. “Bless u guys for all u do. Keep up the fight to bring dogfighting to an end!”

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