Police recover 30 dogs from suspected dogfighting operation

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published March 12, 2019



DETROIT — Approximately 30 dogs believed by investigators to have been used for dogfighting were recovered after an investigation by the Detroit Police Department and the Michigan Humane Society.

Police reportedly raided a house in the 14000 block of Edmore Drive, in the area of Eight Mile and Schoenherr roads, at 12:50 p.m. March 8, and three other locations in Detroit. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said 30 dogs were found with bite trauma and injuries consistent with dogfighting. Police said equipment used for dogfighting, and firearms and ammunition, also were found.

Julian Akyan, a 29-year-old Detroit resident, was taken into custody, and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said that he was connected to the four locations. He was charged March 10 with one count of felon in possession of a firearm, one count of felon in possession of ammunition, one count of animal fighting, one count of possession of fighting animals/equipment, one count of cruelty to 10 or more animals, one count of cruelty to four to 10 animals, and five counts of felony firearm.

Akyan was arraigned in 36th District Court March 11 and received a bond of $50,000, 10 percent, with a condition of having no contact with animals. A probable cause conference is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. March 21, while a preliminary examination is scheduled for 9 a.m. March 28. 

As of March 12, Akyan had not retained an attorney.

Anna Chrisman, media manager with the Michigan Humane Society, said the investigation was begun by her organization after receiving a tip.

“We received a tip on March 7 concerning some animals that were confined in a way that alarmed the caller,” she explained. “Our investigators gathered evidence and then presented it to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, and then the Detroit police, who we work closely with on cases like this, came in to provide assistance.”

Chrisman said the animals recovered from the home were recovered by the Michigan Humane Society and were given proper medical care.

“Signs at the scene were consistent with dogfighting. We found several of the dogs in poor condition or in poor health. Now the dogs are being cared for by the Michigan Humane Society,” she said. “They are receiving medical treatment, and (the MHS is) giving them behavior and enrichment training to go through, and (will) work with the animals to design a support system for the animal so they aren’t stressed or unhappy.”

She also advised people to be on the lookout for animals that could be abused or that are being kept in unsafe or unhealthy environments.

“We were able to move on this particular situation quickly because someone in the neighborhood saw something that just hit them wrong,” Chrisman said. “We really want people to take a ‘if you see something, say something’ attitude. If you think something may be wrong, let us know and we can come investigate it. We would rather be called to a false alarm than have a situation like this be allowed to continue.”

To contact the Michigan Humane Society, call (866) 648-6263.