Police went to an Olde Tavern Drive house Tuesday and arrested the owner on 14 felony counts each of having or training fighting dogs and of cruelty to animals, and county animal control officers took 14 pit bulls to a shelter.
Investigators got a search warrant for James Edward Harris’ property after getting complaints about unusual odors in the area, Police Chief Bill Carter said.
Police teamed with Wake County Animal Control and concluded that a number of pit bulls were being kept behind the house, and they reported hearing more dogs indoors, Carter said in a statement.
Carter said dogs that needed medical treatment were getting it at the shelter.
Police consulted with the Wake County District Attorney’s office, then obtained the search warrant and arrested Harris, 48, Carter said.
The state statute under which Harris was charged with dog fighting forbids owning, possessing or training “a dog with the intent that the dog be used in an exhibition featuring the baiting of that dog or the fighting of that dog with another dog or with another animal.”
The cruelty count in the arrest warrant alleged that Harris broke a law that says it is criminal to “maliciously torture, mutilate, maim, cruelly beat, disfigure, poison, or kill” an animal.
Carter’s statement said officers found items at Harris’ home that are commonly used in dog fighting and dog training, but the chief declined to specify what they were.
Carter said the investigation is still going on. He would not comment on whether police believe Harris owned the dogs or was training them for other people or both.
A magistrate set Harris’ bail at $1 million on the dog-fighting and cruelty charges.
Another $5,000 bail was added because Harris was charged with not appearing in court when he was supposed to on a charge of driving with a revoked license. The magistrate wrote that Harris has more than 10 previous convictions on that charge.