Deputies with the Maricopa County sheriff's office raided the Cave Creek, Arizona, home of rapper DMX on Friday morning (August 24), and according to a police spokesperson, 12 pit bulls were removed from the residence, all in bad condition. Police would not get into specifics but did say the animals are being tended to by veterinarians.
At this point, DMX (real name: Earl Simmons) has not been officially charged with any crime, but police are still investigating. DMX was not at his home at the time of the raid, during which police also discovered a large cache of weapons. Police do not believe the rapper is in Arizona but would like to question him as part of their investigation.
A tipster notified police more than a week ago that dogs were being kept in inhumane conditions at the rapper's property, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told MTV News. "They weren't getting proper food, they weren't getting proper water, and they were tied outside in 115-degree heat," Arpaio said. "We are developing the investigation." He added that the department is seeking additional warrants to check the guns to determine if "they're legal, if he's allowed to have weapons."
According to Arpaio, the charred remains of at least one dog were recovered from DMX's backyard, and the sheriff's department will be investigating the rapper's possible involvement in illegal dogfighting. Police continue to explore the grounds around DMX's home for more dog remains.
The rapper's attorney, Stacey Richman, defended her client, saying, "He loves and lives for his animals" and "has caretakers for his homes and especially for his animals." According to Richman, "The caretaker [DMX had hired] was only coming in once a day. Of course, that was not the arrangement."
This isn't the first time police have taken an interest in DMX's dogs. Back in 2002, the rapper pleaded guilty in New Jersey to charges of animal cruelty, stemming from a 1998 raid of DMX's home. Police claimed he had neglected 13 pit bulls. He eventually plea-bargained down to fines, probation and community service, and even starred in a public-service announcement against animal abuse.
The DMX news comes the same day that NFL star Michael Vick admitted his own involvement with dogfighting (see "Why Does The Michael Vick Case Hurt Hip-Hop?"). The Atlanta Falcons quarterback told the U.S. District Court in Richmond, Virginia, that he would plead guilty to "conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture." Vick faces a maximum term of five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Later Friday evening, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that Vick has been suspended from the league indefinitely.
MTV News will have more on this story as it develops.
[This story was originally published at 5:51 p.m. ET on 08.24.2007]