06/22/2012 12:04 pm ET

Raul Sanchez Arrested In Alleged Bronx Dog Fighting Ring; 47 Pit Bulls Rescued By NYPD, ASPCA

The NYPD arrested a Bronx man Thursday, and are searching for another man, on charges of animal cruelty in connection with an alleged pit bull fighting operation inside an apartment building basement.

In a joint effort with the ASPCA of New York, authorities seized 47 pit bulls from the building, where it appears the men had been training the dogs to fight. From CBS:

Raul Sanchez was arrested and inside the building authorities recovered a loaded .25-caliber handgun, 22 crude wooden cages, multiple pet carriers, dog treadmills, harnesses and muzzles, syringes, cash and a shopping cart full of raw chicken parts.

“It’s pretty horrific inside — horrible conditions. I couldn’t even describe it,” said NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Favale. “The dogs appear to be in various stages of abuse and injury.”

The makeshift dog-fighting arena, inside 1254 Sherman Avenue, could hold about 100 spectators, police said.

“Organized dog fighting is a brutal form of animal abuse where dogs are exploited and forced to fight as their owners profit from their torture,” said Howard Lawrence, senior director of operations for the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department. “The dogs we saw today exhibited scarring and injuries consistent with fighting dogs. The ASPCA is determined to protect New York City's animals from this form of cruelty.”

Lawrence also said it will take some time before New Yorkers can adopt the rescued pets. “I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves with that,” he told 1010 WINS. “Let’s just see how they are, just get them medically sound, do behavior assessment and we’ll take it from there.”