At least 12 people have been arrested in connection to a dog-fighting ring that spanned areas in Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama, and police have seized around $500,000 in cash that was obtained from illegal gambling operations. More than 360 pit bulls were rescued from the organized ring, which the ASPCA believes is the second-largest in history.
Federal, state, and local authorities worked together in the raids and say that the condition some of the dogs were in was deplorable, with several needing medical attention. The animals have been placed in shelters for the time being.
“In one yard, 114 dogs, the majority tethered to heavy chains, sat in 90 degree heat, scratching at fleas, with no fresh water or food visible anywhere on the property. Some appeared to have no access to water at all, and many exhibited wounds, scars and other conditions consistent with dog fighting,” the ASPCA said in a statement. “Makeshift, filthy dog houses — many improvised from plastic and metal barrels and others made of chipboard with rotting wood floors and rusted metal roofing — provided the only shelter in the sweltering heat and humidity. Some dogs pulled at chains and cables that were tethered to cinder blocks and car tires. A female dog did her best to tend to six puppies, just weeks old, with no food or water, in a pen littered with trash and feces.”
“It’s really a sad day to me and a sad day of affairs in the state of Alabama to have to even indulge in this type of criminal activity and prosecution,” said U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. “I believe if Dante were alive today and were rewriting ‘The Inferno,’ that the lowest places in hell would be reserved for those who commit cruelty to our animals and to our children.”
Among those arrested were Donnie Anderson and Michael Martin, both of Auburn, Alabama; Demontt Allen of Houston; William Antone Edwards of Brantley, Alabama; William Oneil Edwards and Robin Stinson, both of Elba, Alabama.; Lawrence Watford of Adel, Georgia.; Ricky Van Le of Biloxi, Mississippi.; David Sellers of Opelika, Alabama.; Sandy Brown of Brownsville, Alabama.; Carlton Tippens of Georgia; and Irkis Forest of Theodore, Alabama.
“These dog fighters abuse, starve and kill their dogs for the supposed ‘fun’ of watching and gambling on a dogfight. Their behavior is deplorable, will not be tolerated, and will be punished to the full extent of the law," Beck said.