Second-Largest Dog Fighting Case Leads to Arrests and Federal Charges

dog fightingOver 350 Dogs Removed, $500,000 in Cash Seized in Massive Dog Fighting Bust

A multiagency investigation into a massive multi-state dog fighting ring has led to 10 federal indictments for violating the dog fighting statute, as well as the gambling statute.

Twelve people across Alabama, Georgia, Texas, and Mississippi were investigated, landing ten of them with 30 federal indictments. The indictments allege that between 2009 and 2013, individuals conspired to promote and sponsor dog fighting across much of the Southeast, as well as possess, buy, sell, transport, and deliver dogs, which is in violation of the federal dog fighting statute.

On Friday, August 23rd, federal and state officers served warrants in simultaneous raids in Alabama and Georgia. They seized 367 pit bulls from dog fighting operations in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. They also seized more than $500,000 in cash, related to bets taken on the dogs during fights.

“These defendants were betting between $5,000 and $200,000 on one dog fight,” stated U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr.  “The number of dogs seized and the amount of money involved in this in case shows how extensive this underworld of dog fighting is.  These dog fighters abuse, starve and kill their dogs for the supposed ‘fun’ of watching and gambling on a dog fight.  Their behavior is deplorable, will not be tolerated, and will be punished to the full extent of the law.”

The Humane Society of the US and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have taken the dogs to shelters at undisclosed locations. The dogs will be kept as evidence as the dog fighting cases are tried, but both societies said they would ultimately like to place the dogs in new, loving homes.

“We are committing to eradicating dog fighting in every dark corner where it festers,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “This series of raids reminds every dog fighter that they are not beyond the law and their day of reckoning will come.”

Criminal Charges for Dog Fighting in South Carolina

Dog fighting is the act of training dogs fight, usually to the death, for the purposes of entertainment. Frequently, the blood sport is linked to illegal money-making and gambling.

Until the 19th century, blood sports like bull baiting, bear baiting, and cock fighting were common. In the middle of the 19th century, reform movements, which started in England, lobbied for animal welfare laws. These laws dictated animals were entitled to a certain level of care and treatment, and animal cruelty slowly became illegal in most developed countries.

Dog fighting is now illegal in all 50 states. The federal government also prohibits dog fighting, when the illegal activity occurs over state lines.

Animal cruelty is the most apparent negative aspect of dog fighting, but it is also linked to organized crime and other illegal activities.

While dog fighting is often covered under laws against animal cruelty, it has garnered more attention due to its violent and brutal nature. Most state laws characterize dog fighting as “for amusement or gain, causing dogs to fight or injure each other,” or something along those lines.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Federal Criminal Charges for Dog Fighting

The punishments for participation in a dogfight vary between the states, but they usually top off at prison sentences of 3-5 years. The consequences of dog fighting as a federal crime may be much more severe than a South Carolina charge for the same crime. If you have been charged in a dog fighting case, whether the charge is state or federal, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today. 803.252.4800