(NBC) - Twelve people from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas have been arrested after a federal and state investigation into dog fighting and gambling.
Officials say charges include conducting an illegal gambling business and multiple felony dog fighting charges, including promoting dog fights.
According to officials, the raid, which took place Friday, is believed to be the second-largest dog fighting raid in the nation's history.
Three hundred-sixty-seven pit bulls were seized in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, and more than a half-million dollars in cash was also seized.
Remains of dead animals were also discovered on some properties where the dogs were housed.
"The conditions that we found on these properties were consistent with what we have seen in other dog fighting operations throughout the country," said Tim Rickey with the ASPCA. "We commonly see animals that are kept in deplorable conditions - tethered to heavy dog chains, in the middle of wooded areas and open fields. Dogs that often have scars and other animal fighting paraphernalia that is indicative of illegal animal fighting."
Police officials say they will not forget the inhumane treatment they saw during the raids, which included dogs being tethered to heavy chains and dogs with fighting wounds.
"I just wanted to say this to all of you," said Coffee Co., Ala., Sheriff Dave Sutton. "Those animals can't speak like you and I. They bark and whine. We chose to speak for them, and I believe we sent a message out."
"There are certainly those cases that you look at and understand and remember why you get into this profession," said Auburn, Ala., Police Chief Paul Register. "This would be one of those situations. The inhumane treatment we have all seen during this case, we will not forget."
If convicted, the defendants could face up to five years in prison in addition to fines and restitution.