HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — Fifteen dogs were removed from a home in Guilford County in connection to an alleged dogfighting operation, according to the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re going to shut it down locally. And hopefully, we get it shut down throughout the state,” said Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers.

Deputies said the owner of the home, 51-year-old Toriano Marcellus Cave, was arrested and charged with one felony count of allegedly owning and/or possessing a dog with the intent that the dog be used in fighting another dog or with another animal.

Of the 15 dogs seized, three of them were adult males, three were adult females and nine were recently born females.

Three years of animal neglect calls launched the GCSO investigation. Some of the complaints ranged from animal cruelty to hearing someone choking dogs and reportedly making threats to kill the dogs.

FOX8 first reported the problems on Penny Road in May. On Wednesday, deputies and officials with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals spent hours in the area removing dogs from kennels.

Rogers said people in the community tipped officials off to the problem.

“We’ve had complaints on this specific residence for a while,” Rogers said.

A six-month investigation into dogs living at a home on Penny Road prompted the seizures.

“When the dogs continue to become a nuisance to the community and neighbors begin to start complaining, then we have to look into it,” Rogers said.

Investigators with the GCSO, ASPCA officials and federal agents found the pit bulls in the backyard. 

The pit bulls were in kennels, and some were tethered. 

The owner of the dogs told FOX8 in May that he believed the shelter and condition the animals are in is adequate. He declined an on-camera interview.

Investigators took pictures of the dogs, gave them medical attention and moved them into crates. Rogers said six more people could be tied to this investigation.

The owner could include state and federal violations. 

The dogs are at a ASPCA emergency shelters getting medical and behavioral evaluations until the court decides their future home.