ORANGE - Police in Orange busted a dog fighting operation discovered by a building inspector who happened to stumble on a house of horrors.

Paul Arthur, a construction official with the City of Orange, had been called to the home on the 500 block of Nassau Street to investigate a report of electricity being stolen. He found an emaciated pit bull, tied to a heavy chain in a narrow alley. 

When Arthur started looking around, he realized he was going to need back-up. "It just kept escalating," he says. "More and more dogs. More you open up, the more you found, and it just kept going."

The muddy backyard contained 11 more young pit bulls and empty food and water bowls. Officials also discovered bleach, syringes and a weight sled.

According to animal control, nearly all of the dogs seized were timid and submissive. But many of them had scars on their legs and faces, signs that they were used for fighting. "They looked like bait dogs to us for the simple fact that their size weren't massive," says Rudy Giordano. "These are the poor dogs that they put in the middle of a ring and let the other pit bulls come out and just tear them apart."

Three men who claim to own the dogs could soon be looking at animal cruelty charges.

The Associated Humane Societies is now caring for the animals.