Man charged with dog fighting after 35 dogs removed from Detroit homes

Officials say they broke up a huge dog fighting ring Friday, and now specific charges have been laid out for a 29-year-old man from Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor's office says Julian Akyan is expected to be arraigned Monday in 36th District Court on 11 felony charges including animal fighting, cruelty to animals and gun possession.

Detroit police and the Michigan Humane Society recovered the animals Friday during an investigation at an east side home and three other locations. Authorities say the dogs had injuries consistent with dog fighting. More than 30 dogs were found and removed from four different properties. Authorities say equipment used for dog fighting was also found.  

But Akyan's family and attorney says he's innocent and that this is a misunderstanding. 

"They can make all the allegations they want but I don't see anything to indicate any dogfighting, if that's what they're saying," attorney James Galen Jr. told us. 

According to information from investigators, The Grand Champion fighting dog was removed from one of the properties as well as paraphernalia connected to dog fighting.

"I watched them. None of them were emaciated; none of them appear to be abused in any way, shape or form; and more important I didn't see any indicators of fighting, which would be scars or anything of that nature," Galen said. 

We asked Galen what is going on there. 

"He likes breeding those dogs and those dogs were very, very well taken care of."

On Friday, investigators conducted a search and seizure. Peggy Kleiner, who Galen says is also his client, told us investigators kicked in their door. 

"Here it is 24 plus hours later and he still has not been charged - and they do have weekend arraignments," Galen said. 

Law enforcement officials say their suspect is in custody and the arraignment is expected to take place Monday. FOX 2 reached out to police and the Michigan Humane Society and Humane Society officials say they will comment on Monday. 

"They're going to have to work pretty hard to put together some sort of case against him because I don't know if he engaged in any illegal activity whatsoever," Galen said. "I don't believe they had a case to begin with and I think if they're not careful they're going to be sued and they're going to have a big explination to the public of why they're taking away good dogs from a good home, as opposed to protecting dogs that are being abused or fought."