A 14th suspect allegedly involved in a dog-fighting ring that spans Georgia, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi has been arrested on federal charges.
The Alabama man was arrested earlier this week after 37 dogs and dog-fighting gear was seized from properties in that state. The latest arrest follows the 10-person bust in late August; 367 dogs were seized at that time.
A federal prosecutor said the Alabama man is being charged with possession of dogs for fighting purposes. Investigators seized 33 pit bulls from his Dothan home and his mother’s nearby Abbeville home.
An FBI agent’s affidavit said informants and “cooperating witnesses” told authorities that the suspect had entered animals in dog fights in western Georgia, southern Alabama and northern Florida.
During a search of his property earlier this month, the man reportedly told investigators that he raises and sells the dogs. He denied using them for fights.
Investigators said they found a treadmill on his property; the devices are apparently used to train dogs before fights.
An investigator claimed that the suspect “ran in the same crowd” as the 13 people arrested earlier. Those residents of Georgia, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi were indicted by a federal grand jury.
The man just arrested wasn’t included in that indictment, authorities said, because information pointing to him was developed during the investigation of the others.
The Humane Society is caring for the seized animals. The organization says many of the animals have scars and wounds consistent with those sustained in dog fights.
It says the total of dogs now being cared for as a result of the arrests and seizures totals 466.
As the country saw with the Michael Vick case, dog-fighting is a serious charge and conviction can carry long sentences, making the choice of criminal defense attorney an important one in the process.
Source: The Telegraph, “14th arrest made in federal dog fighting probe,” by Phillip Rawls, Oct. 29, 2013