BUST UPDATE: Tucson, AZ - Officials have reason to believe that 30 to 40 generations of fighting dogs resided at Patrick Mahlon's property. The scene at Patrick’s compound the day after the raid remained grim, as investigators cataloged scores of caged animals. Some dogs displayed angular limb deformation in their front legs -- the result of generations of inbreeding.
Investigators believe Patrick cultivated at least two highly sought bloodlines of fighting dogs: Bolio and Tombstone.
Reviews of pit bull-related websites and discussion boards indicated that Patrick, known as “Pat” Patrick in pit bull breeding circles, is a near celebrity of the subculture. In 2001, Patrick received a lifetime award for breeding achievement from the American Dog Breeders Association, a group that produces publications and a website devoted to pit bulls.
Dozens of postings from one online forum called game-dog.com praised Patrick’s dogs: "Pat Patrick is the man who dedicated his life to breeding dogs ... off Indian Bolio and thus creating this magnificent strain," boasts one poster. Bloodlines dominate the conversations on such forums. Several websites and periodicals dedicated to pit bulls also show fixations with bloodlines.
The raid at Patrick’s property was part of a larger law enforcement action that included two separate breeding operations. Police arrested six people in all whom they believe to have connections with dog breeding and fighting. Juan and Zenaida Verdin, a married couple and associates of Patrick, are suspected of running the fight-training portion of the enterprise.
Also arrested were Robert "Bobby" Smith and Terry "T.L." Williams. Police suspect the two of managing a similar fight-dog breeding trade with a twist. The pair runs a website called All American Dog Registry. The site registers pit bulls and sanctions sporting events, such as weight pulls. Critics of the site say it’s merely a networking place for the dog fighting subculture.
"All American Dog Registry is a registry created by dog fighters for dog fighters," authorities say.
According to the Human Society, Pima County is home to some of the biggest players in the world of fighting dogs. In fact, authorities here considered Pima County the country’s No. 1 exporter of fighting dogs. Pit bull breeding can be a lucrative trade. It is estimated that Patrick and other breeders can sell fighting dogs for as much as $10,000 each.