Orange County

Theft of French bulldog leads detectives to unravel dog trafficking ring; microchips cut out of dogs

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The theft of a French bulldog named Bugsy led Orange County deputies to make a disturbing discovery of animal cruelty, officials said.

Bugsy was stolen from his owner at gunpoint in March, and the investigation into his theft uncovered shady underground dog-trafficking organizations, deputies said.

READ: Police: 16-year-old girl among 3 found dead inside Orlando condo

Orange County Sheriff John Mina was joined by his detectives to detail the alleged criminal activity.

Watch Orange County deputies give an update on this investigation:

Mina said his investigators were led down a “dark and disturbing road of animal cruelty and puppy trafficking.”

WATCH: Foster mother accused of killing child says she asked agency for help multiple times

Deputies said the investigation uncovered burglaries of pet stores and an underground puppy “chop shop” where the suspects would cut the microchips out from under the animals’ flesh.

“These pets were kept in extremely deplorable conditions,” Mina said.

WATCH: 4 officers hospitalized after pulling man from burning car

Deputies said the suspect would either unload the puppies for cash or keep them for breeding.

Deputies said Bugsy is in good health and was reunited with his family.

See more in the video above.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, and click here to watch the latest news on your Smart TV.