Court documents: Evidence of possible dog fighting in Newport News backyard

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - A search warrant filed in Newport News circuit court shows that an animal control officer was dispatched to the 1000 block of 24th Street because of potential dog fighting and animal cruelty offenses.

The documents say Michael Howard Jr. lives at the home. He was issued a summons for animal cruelty and failure to provide medical treatment.

The officer searched the home, and looked for dead animals.  She found three pit bulls in cages. They were alive, but badly injured.

"I'm 100% sure I'm wrongfully accused," Howard told NewsChannel 3.


According to the officer's notes included in the search warrant, the dogs had scarring, puncture wounds, and scratches on their bodies.

"They're pit bulls, It's in their nature to be aggressive," Howard said.

City officials say the dogs are being kept at the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter where they have received medical attention. Each pit bull had bite wounds that needed veterinary care.

They also say, there was not enough evidence to charge him with dog fighting.

When NewsChannel 3 asked him if he had a dog fighting ring, he said, "I don't know a criminal that's stupid enough to have a criminal ring going on in a public yard."

Howard also showed the officer several chickens, and according to the documents, one of the chickens appeared to have his feathers chopped off.

The officer wrote that the chicken's appearance was indicative of a process called "bobbing," where the animals feathers are cut short for fighting purposes.

"All of these chickens are 'biddies'. I never had chickens in my life. I just got them for the kids because I thought they were cool," Howard said.

As for his dogs, Howard says he plans to get them back from the city. He has until Monday to file an appeal.

"They're going to go in the house, and they're going to stay in the house.  They don't have to worry about calling the police and spreading false rumors," he told NewsChannel 3.

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