For now, authorities say DMX was no Michael Vick.
Postmortem exams performed on three canine carcasses found buried in the backyard of the rapper's Phoenix-area home revealed that two of the animals suffered grievous injuries before they died. But investigators have found no sufficient evidence suggesting DMX was involved in the kind of organized dog fighting, à la the scandal that engulfed, and possibly ended the career of, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback.
Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies raided the 36-year-old rapper's property in the suburb of Cave Creek on Aug. 24, after being tipped off about possible animal cruelty. The deputies evacuated 12 half starved pit bulls that had been caged without proper food and water in the desert heat.
Also found were the remains of three dogs, a stockpile of assault weapons and ammunition, a quarter-ounce of marijunana and drug paraphernalia. Meanwhile, a mysterious white powder recovered from the homestead tested negative as an illicit drug.
A spokesman for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department confirmed that necropsies showed one of the dead dogs sustained bite wounds, while another exhibited major trauma to its abdomen. The third animal was burned beyond recognition, preventing investigators from reaching any definitive conclusions.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said no charges have yet been brought against the rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, or any of his associates. But that could change, especially if officers reconstructing a timeline determine DMX was at the residence at the time of the abuse.
"Someone's going to have to pay for this," Arpaio told the Associated Press. "We have 12 dogs who were abused and 3 dogs buried in the yard—someone's going to have to pay."
Meanwhile, Arpaio is awaiting word from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about whether the seized weapons were legal.
The rapper's New York-based lawyer, Murray Richman, has maintainedthat his client hadn't been to the house in months, and the dogs were supposed to have been tended for by a caretaker, identified as Brad Blackwell.
Blackwell told deputies he informed the rapper's reps he could only care for the animals "just a couple of days" because he was scheduled to go on vacation, according to the search warrant.
Further contradicting Richman were accounts from neighbors, who told investigators they saw DMX at the home three weeks before deputies executed the search warrants.
Richman, meanwhile, has insisted DMX loves his animals and was upset to learn about their mistreatment. The rapper has yet to offer a public statement.
DMX, who has "Pit Bull" tattooed across his back, routinely employs canine imagery in his music, most recently naming his 2006 album Year of the Dog…Again and his June greatest-hits compilation The Definition of X: Pick of the Litter.
But he has had his legal dog days before.
In 1999, police conducted a raid at the rapper's home in Teaneck, New Jersey, and found a huge cache of guns, as well as—you guessed it—13 caged pit bulls.
After copping a plea in 2002 that spared him jail time, he ended up making a series of PSAs urging children to be kind to animals.