BAKER, LA (WAFB) - A convicted felon accused of training dogs to fight was arrested Monday night.
The Baker Police Department reported Eugene Grayer, 49, of Baker, was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges of dogfighting and felon in possession of a firearm. His bond was set at $25,000.
Raised on a farm, Richard Byrd has been around dogs his entire life. Now, as the operations manager at East Baton Rouge Animal Control, he knows the signs of possible dogfighting.
"There's no scars around her face," Byrd said. "She's very friendly."
Byrd was referring to a pit bull at the shelter. Officials said 24 other pit bulls arrived at animal control Monday night. They were seized from Grayer's home.
Police said they busted him after a tip from a neighbor. The sounds of barking, whimpering and a lot of commotion got the caller suspicious of dogfighting. Another neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, also had her suspicions.
"You heard a lot of dogs every now and then," the neighbor said. "He had a lot of dogs, but then you never seen nobody walking them."
Grayer told police he raises, trains and sells the dogs for weight-pulling contests. As required by Louisiana law, all of Grayer's 24 dogs were put to sleep shortly after arriving at animal control. A raccoon was also euthanized. Investigators said the animal was used as "bait," a training tool to make the dogs want to fight.
"They put them in front of the dog while it's on the treadmill, which we also confiscated. And then the animal runs on the treadmill and tries to get to the animal that's being used as the bait," Byrd explained.
Byrd said it is common for dogfighting to happen in quiet neighborhoods, which is why it's important for the community to know what to look for and speak up.
"There's going to be people monitoring. They're going to be sitting there betting on the animals. So, you're going to have a number of cars or people walking in. If neighbors think they see something like that, they just need to call animal control or city or sheriff and alert them. We'll try and do what we can to get out there and break it up," Byrd added.
Police also took a pair of guns from Grayer's home. They reported seizing a handgun and shotgun.
Police said he has a "lengthy criminal history and felony convictions for narcotic charges."