Louisville dog-fighting suspect caught selling canines while out on bond
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A Georgia man has been sentenced in federal court in connection with a dog-fighting ring broken up in 2018 in Dodge County.
Benjamin “Benji” Shinhoster III, 41, of Louisville, was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to sponsoring and exhibiting a dog in an animal-fighting venture, according to federal prosecutors.
U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. also ordered Shinhoster to pay a fine of $2,500 and to serve three years of supervised release after completion of his prison sentence.
Shinhoster had been on pre-sentencing supervised release after pleading guilty in the case, but his bond was revoked after he was caught trying to sell several dogs, prosecutors said.
“The gall of this defendant to continue as a proprietor of death while on bond is unnerving,” said Jason Williams, special agent in charge, U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General.
The lead defendant in the investigation, James “Pookie” Lampkin, 46, of Eastman, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act.
Awaiting sentencing are co-defendants Deveon Hood, 34, of Tennille; Andre Archer, 23, of Sandersville; Xavier Simmons, 34, of Sandersville; and Joe Ford, 33, of Elgin, S.C. They pleaded guilty to related felony charges.
Dwight McDuffie, 44, of Eastman, is serving two years of probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge in the case.
In March 2018, Georgia State Patrol troopers and Georgia Department of Natural Resources game wardens conducted traffic stops in Eastman after the Oconee Drug Task Force received reports of a dogfighting operation at Lampkin’s property. During those traffic stops, officers discovered a dog in one of the vehicles that appeared to have been injured while fighting. Investigators later seized 63 dogs at Lampkin’s residence while serving a search warrant after finding the animals chained in the backyard. Investigators also discovered a disassembled pit where fights were held, and equipment used to train dogs for fighting.
An animal rescue operation took custody of the dogs.
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