DETROIT (WJBK) - A Detroit man was tied up, tortured and had his ear cut off. Police say that man was breeding dogs under terrible conditions, and was possibly training them for dog fighting.
FOX 2 counted at least 16 pit bulls that were emaciated and living outside and in filth. That is in addition to the more than a dozen dogs taken from the basement of the home.
The 52-year-old dog breeder was feeding his dogs at one of his Detroit properties on Mackay when he was confronted by three armed men wearing ninja masks. His family says he was forced into the home. They tied him and his two tenants up, then proceeded to torture the dog breeder and demand money.
"My cousin's not a small man, you know what I'm saying. They knew what they were doing," says Marty Johnson, the victim's cousin. "They tied him up; they beat him up pretty bad; broke ribs; broke fingers; stabbed him with ice pics; cut his ear off. It was just messed up."
Police sources tell FOX 2's Taryn Asher they believe the dog breeder was targeted because of his sophisticated and expensive blue pit breeding operation, which they believe is connected to dog fighting.
Animal Control removed several dogs from the basement of the home and were on their way back to take the 16 pit bulls FOX 2 saw tied up and living in the backyard.
The attack was personal and possibly in retaliation.
"He has wife; he has family; he has kids," says Johnson. "They made an accusation, talking about, 'If we catch your wife and daughter, we are raping them. We're going to do this, we're going to do that.' I mean, c'mon."
The masked suspects took the victim's ear and his minivan.
FOX 2 has learned the victim owns multiple properties. FOX 2 found two of them with several pit bulls living in and out of the houses.
But relatives deny the 52-year-old is involved in dog fighting, and claims he just breeds them to sell.
"No, he don't [sic] fight dogs. He breeds dogs," says the victim's brother, who did not wish to be shown or named. "He has a lot of dogs. He's been like that since we were kids."
"You can make all the accusations you want - it is not a dog fighting ring. He loves his dogs," says Johnson.
The victim was taken to the hospital and police are investigating. They believe there is much more to this case.
In the meantime, the breeder is expected to face some misdemeanor charges for the blight.
The three armed suspects are still out there.