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AKRON-  Akron police say they arrested 47 people on dog-fighting charges and rescued eight pit bulls, after a small army of police officers and federal agents raided a compound surrounding an Akron home on Saturday night.

Authorities say the timing of the raid could not have been better. “The dog fight was actively happening. They were in their first fight of the evening. The dogs were in the ring. There was a dog-fighting ring built into a two-car garage,” said Akron Police Chief James Nice.

When police crashed through a fence surrounding the compound with an armored vehicle, the organizers of the dog fights and spectators were trapped by the same walls that have hidden the ring from public view, and tried to discard cash and drugs before they were taken into custody. “It was a zoo. People were running every which way, throwing evidence. After 47 arrests, we ended up with $52,000 in cash,” said Chief Nice. Police also discovered two marijuana grow operations and several firearms on the property.

Authorities believe the fights, which drew spectators from as far away as California and North Carolina, were organized by  56-year-old Alvin Banks of Akron. Police say the methods used by the members of the ring to get the dogs to fight are brutal. “They had been stabbed much like a bullfight where bulls are stabbed to begin with, to get them riled up. The dogs had been stabbed. The knives that stabbed them were in the ring,” said Nice.

Investigators say based on evidence recovered at the scene, it appears that the fighting has been around for a long time, and that many dogs were injured or killed in the name of the so-called “sport,” which is actually a crime.

The dogs are now being cared for at PAWSibilities, the Humane Society of Greater Akron, where there is hope they can be rehabilitated as pets after enduring so much abuse. Executive Director Karen Hackenberry told FOX 8, “It remains to be seen, I think we’re going to provide the best care we can and love and attention and we hope for the best. I mean these dogs are victims; you know dog fighting is a brutal crime.”