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Owner of 49 dogs rescued from suspected dogfighting ring won’t get them back, judge rules

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    TACOMA, WA (KCPQ) — The owner of dozens of pit bulls found locked in crates inside a Tacoma garage will not get them back after a Pierce County judge’s ruling on Thursday.

After being tipped off by neighbors on December 18, authorities discovered 48 dogs living in deplorable conditions, with some of the pit bulls suffering from injuries and malnourishment. Sheriff’s deputies also found paraphernalia associated with dogfighting and breeding at the home, including medications, syringes, first-aid supplies and training tools.

The rescued animals belonged to 40-year-old Elmer James Givens Jr. He is accused of animal cruelty and animal fighting, but Givens was released, and no charges were officially filed.

Givens first appeared in court a week ago where he maintained his innocence and requested his dogs be returned to him. However, court officials did not have enough information to proceed with the hearing.

He appeared in court again Thursday, trying to convince the court to let him have the dozens of dogs back in his possession.

“I’m just asking for mercy of the court to let me get my dogs back and restore my life,” said Givens.

A Pierce County Judge ruled against Givens request stating he had not proven he was in position to take proper care of the dogs.

“The court has serious concerns about them {the dogs} suffering future neglect or abuse,” said Judge Jeanette Lineberry.

Dozens of animal rights activists packed the courtroom. They say they’re happy with the judge’s ruling.

“If the dogs could speak, if the dogs could say what they wanted, they would say thank you for taking us from that place,” said Melenie MacGregor.

Givens has not been charged with a crime. Officials in the prosecutor’s office say there is no timeline on if and when charges may be filed.

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