The first stop was Elmhurst, Queens, where a caller had reported that five pit bulls were caged in the back of a used-car lot.
The used-car lot around the corner at 76th Road and Queens Boulevard was the place they had come to investigate. The men approached from the back, across a sidewalk that was under construction. The workers stopped their jackhammers and stared as a half-dozen tattooed men followed a nervous woman wearing a floral blouse.
Several of the men climbed up a stack of concrete slabs to peer over a wall into the lot. In a large enclosure behind a chain-link fence, four pit bulls stared back at them, tails wagging, coats sleek and mouths wide open, like smiling crocodiles. As it turned out, they were not confined and in fact had ample space.