"Sick puppies," the lieutenant said.
And he wasn't talking about the dogs.
Lt. Thomas Mudd of the Cold Spring Station referred Sunday to some 20 people who attended a pit-bull fight in an abandoned house at 91 Laurel St. near Michigan Avenue.
Blood smeared on the walls gave testimony to the price paid by the dogs for the amusement of the bettors.
But, in particular, the lieutenant talked about the organizers of the deadly dog fights, who set up a treadmill in the back yard -- and a more unusual piece of equipment for the game.
"They had a guillotine set up in the back," Mudd said. "When the losers of the fight would be in such bad shape, rather than shoot them they would cut their heads off."
That's when he remarked, "Sick puppies."
"The treadmill was for training," he added. "They would run this thing for hours on end, just to get them in shape and toughen them up."
Late this morning, amid reports that people involved in the dog fights would try to get three of the animals back, the city dog shelter announced it was closing to the public to thwart any such efforts.
Last week, police and animal-protection officials told The Buffalo News that people may be kidnapping dogs to use them for fighting or guarding drug houses.
When Officers John Poisson and Robert Salamone barged in on the fight at 8 p.m. Saturday, all but one of the organizers and spectators fled.
"It was an abandoned house, and they knew all the nooks and crannies," Mudd said.
One slow-moving patron will be charged under the state agricultural laws. His name was not released.
Police also did not release the name of the suspected proprietor of the business, who is believed to live in the house next door. The man is being sought, and a warrant was signed Sunday for his arrest.
Mudd said it wasn't exactly a raid.
"My guys just came in," he said. "Unbeknownst to them -- they just thought there was something going on, and they were checking it out."
Seven dogs were seized, but at least two other dogs were dead; neither had been guillotined.
Gina Browning Rummel, spokeswoman for the Erie County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said several other dogs ran off, apparently turned loose by those fleeing the police. Three dogs were taken to the SPCA shelter in the Town of Tonawanda.
One of the dogs, which had just been fighting, had to be stitched up because of many wounds and loss of blood, she said. The others were taken to the city shelter.