OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A suspect has been identified in a dogfighting operation uncovered in East Oakland last month, but officials are struggling to find homes or rescue groups to take the rest of the malnourished dogs, an Oakland Animal Services official said Friday.

Twelve dogs were taken from a home at 98 Eldridge Ave. in Oakland on Dec. 19 after the alleged dogfighting training operation was discovered by police during an unrelated search, according to Oakland Animal Services Director David Cronin.

No arrests have been made but an investigation is underway and a suspect has been identified, Cronin said.

The operation, in a single-family home occupied by a family with children, included treadmills for dogs, weighted vests and medical supplies, but did not include clean food or water, Cronin said.

The dogs, some of whom were used for fighting and others for breeding purposes, came to the shelter malnourished and have put on weight since their seizure, he said.

Two of the dogs have since been put down due to aggression or health issues, and four others have found placement with rescue groups, Cronin said.

One or two others have serious long-term medical conditions that make it likely they will also have to be put down, but there are four remaining that officials still would like to find homes for, through adoption or rescue groups, Cronin said.

The dogs, some of whom show scars from fighting, have been tested for aggression to humans and other animals and been cleared for adoption by shelter officials, Cronin said.

“I was just with two of them and they’re incredibly sweet,” Cronin said. “They’re just not the prettiest dogs in the world, primarily because of how they were used.”

Cronin said, “time is running out” for the dogs because shelter officials simply do not have the space to keep them for long.

Cronin said that while twelve dogs is more than is usually found at one time, dogfighting operations are not unusual in Oakland or elsewhere.

Animal services officials have limited resources to investigate cases, however, and as in the Eldridge Avenue case they often get little community cooperation, Cronin said.

© Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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