Deputies stumble on possible dogfighting operation

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

August 29, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---A national concern makes headlines right here in Augusta as Richmond County deputies stumble across what could be a dogfighting operation.

Nine dogs and a dog-training treadmill were among some of the clues deputies found at some houses on the 1100 block of Kent Street, off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Deputies have also found a site on Luckey Street where dogfighting may have taken place.

The Richmond County Crime Suppression Team says they "stumbled upon" the situation. They said they were doing routine patrols in the area when they saw three dogs chained outside an abandoned home, with no food and no water. Information from that home led them across the street to 1123 Kent Street, where inside they found drugs and guns. And, outside they also found a tampered power meter, later discovered stolen from two houses down at 1127 Kent Street. That's where officers made the startling discovery behind a black tarp covered fence.

Six more dogs, chained up, all with cuts and scars on their legs, chest, and head consistent with dog fighting.

Inside the home, they found a treadmill consistent with dog training as well as a blood-covered table outside in a shed, such as those used to treat dogs injured in fighting.

"We have come to learn they use these animals as bait animals which is worse in my opinion. " says Lt. Scott Gay with the Sheriff's Office crime suppression unit.

The Kent Street homes are believed to a part of a dog training operation since there no pit or dog fighting arena was found. All nine dogs were removed from the scene by Richmond County Animal Control.

A few hours later, and just six blocks away, officers found what they suspected. A dogfighting pit found behind a Luckey Street home. Five more dogs were found at the scene.

"Among the five, two were females that appeared to have recently given birth but no puppies were found." Says Lt. Gay, which he adds also raises the possibility the property may be a breeding ground as well.

A total of 8 people were arrested at both locations; five from Kent Street and three more from Luckey Street. Lt. Gay says the three found at the Luckey Street home are believed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and are not believed to be involved in the operation.

None of the eight people in custody are charged with animal cruelty at this time. Lt. Gay says the investigation is still ongoing.

Pit bull thefts are common in the area, and Lt. Gay says they have not ruled out the possibility that these dogs may be stolen. The Sheriff's Office and animal control are still working to determine if this is the case. Lt. Gay adds a lot of dogs were recovered in a short period of time and it may take awhile to sort through all of the animals.

Very few dogfighting cases have been prosecuted in Georgia. That's due to the fact that it isn't illegal in Georgia to train dogs to fight, nor is it illegal to attend a dog fight. There is a specific law against allowing a dog to fight for gambling purposes or running such an event. Those involved in dogfighting might also be prosecuted under animal cruelty statutes.

Republican Senator Chip Rogers introduced SB 16, called the Animal Fighting Act, to make Georgia's dogfighting laws tougher. It has passed the Senate more than once but has never passed the House.

If SB 16 was passed it would make it illegal to train a dog for fighting, to buy a dog for fighting, to rent a location for the purpose of dogfighting, to gamble on dogfighting, and to be a spectator at a dogfight.

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  • by David Location: Augusta on Aug 31, 2007 at 08:00 AM
    To "nonna yo bizz": Take heed that average citizens are on the lookout for dogfighters and other barbaric cruely. We will assist the police by rooting out this cancer from our society and will pay the extra taxes to build jails for these thugs to reside in. We are making it our business because we intend to live in a civilized society. Michael Sick/Vick is just a visable example.
  • by nonna yo bizz Location: 305 on Aug 30, 2007 at 09:41 PM
    Richmond County police didn't start harassin people about dog fighting until they heard about Mike vick's case
  • by Ruby Location: Augusta on Aug 30, 2007 at 03:19 PM
    Instead of putting those pure helpless dogs down, the ones that was doing the dog fighting should be put in a pen like those poor helpless dogs were and made to fight like those dogs were. Those dogs were not put here to be treated like that no matter who got them. They were put here to love and enjoy instead of abusing them.
  • by Muffin Location: MCDuffie County on Aug 30, 2007 at 09:36 AM
    What has this world come to when dogs are made to kill each other. I say PETA needs to get involved & make those people fight each other & eat raw meat& run on treadmills......bunch of sickos
  • by Damian Location: Charlottesville, VA on Aug 30, 2007 at 09:24 AM
    The GA House of Representatives needs to pass that bill. Now. Before more dogs are tortured and before more communities are put at risk by these criminal ventures. Shame on the agribusiness lobbying groups who keep shooting these bills down because they oppose any regulation on how animals are treated.
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