21 dogs rescued from alleged dog fighting operation in Nashville

(Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Three people are charged after Metro police say 21 dogs were rescued from a dog fighting operation in Nashville.

Authorities reported they were executing a heroin-related search warrant at a home on Rowan Drive, not far from Whites Creek Pike, when they discovered evidence of dog fighting.

(Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)
(Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)

The 21 dogs, 11 adults and 10 puppies, all of the pit bull variety, were seized and are now in the care of Metro Animal Control.

PHOTOS: Alleged dog fighting ring in Nashville

Police said the dogs were found either chained or in cages behind the home, along with a treadmill believed to have been used to train the dogs and syringes allegedly used to administer chemicals to them.

The property is reportedly owned by John Gooch, 45, who now faces 10 counts of animal fighting and 6 counts of aggravated animal cruelty.

Police said a second man, 30-year-old James Burgess, was living at the home at the time of the search warrant and has been charged with 9 counts of animal fighting and 5 counts of aggravated animal cruelty.

Both men were also charged Tuesday with conspiracy to distribute heroin and remain in the Metro Jail.

Gooch’s girlfriend, Shawn Massey, faces one count of animal fighting and one count of aggravated animal cruelty.

L to R: John Gooch and James Burgess (Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)
L to R: John Gooch and James Burgess (Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)
Shawn Massey (Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)
Shawn Massey (Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)

Metro Animal Care and Control now at capacity

After the 21 dogs were seized Tuesday, Metro Animal Control said they are hosting an adoption event in the hopes of making room for the dogs.

The shelter has reached capacity in its dog adoption and stray animal dog holding areas and needs people to adopt.

(Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)
(Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)

Beginning March 10, adoption fees are being waived for all pets of all ages. The special will last through March 19.

“Nobody wants to see these incredible animals placed into loving homes more than our staff who have bonded with them, but the reality is that we are out of space.” said Rebecca Morris, spokesperson for Metro Animal Control.

Potential adopters will still need to meet with an adoption counselor to find the best match for their family.

All dogs, cats and kittens are spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.

Metro Animal Care and Control is located at 5125 Harding Place. It is open for adoption Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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