GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — More than 30 animals have been rescued from a home in Gastonia after officers received reports of dogs fighting in the backyard, according to Gaston County Police Animal Care and Enforcement.

Authorities said they were called to the home located along Hemlock Avenue in Gastonia around 9 a.m. Thursday, April 28. As specialists arrived at the home, they quickly located a dead dog in the yard.

Numerous other dogs were discovered caged in the backyard living in poor conditions, they said.

“There was an immediate concern for their health as some were found suffering from obvious injuries,” a spokesperson with Gaston County Police Animal Care and Enforcement said.

After efforts were made to get in contact with the homeowners, search warrants were obtained to search the home for evidence related to possible animal cruelty and dogfighting activity.

More than 30 animals were found at the home. All animals were removed from the property and taken to the Gaston County Animal Shelter for evaluation and medical treatment, authorities said.

Authorities tell Queen City News specialists worked well into the night, until 2 a.m. Friday, to make sure all animals were transferred to the shelter OK and properly cared for. Rabbits and goats were also among the 30 animals that were rescued, they said.

The Gaston County Police Criminal Investigations Unit is assisting with this ongoing investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. J. Brienza at 704-866-3320 or Crime Stoppers at 704-861-8000.