Monday, March 9, 2009

Darlington County, SC - Suspected Dog Fighting Ring Raided

Alright, in our last blog post we said that we would try to update you all as we learn more... and this case is what we are talking about. It is truly sad, as right now we do not have all the facts and we don't know if these dogs were indeed used in a fighting ring. What we do know is that they were confiscated and that they need help.

Folks! This is happening right here in our own "back yard". We are praying like the dickens that these dogs will be given a fair chance and that the Faron dogs, along with the Vick dogs and countless other dogs that have been seized in fight busts and other criminal cases will be their angels and will light the way and allow for them to be evaluated as individuals. We don't want to jump the gun in this, but the possibility is there that we may be called upon to help and if that time comes, we will need YOU... these dogs will need YOU to help us help them.

Published: March 4, 2009

About 10 pit bulls have been seized and four people have been arrested in connection with an apparent dogfighting operation discovered late Friday afternoon in Darlington County.

Deputies responded to a mobile home at 1619 Patrick Highway about 5 p.m. Friday, Darlington County Sheriff’s Sgt. Charles Wright said. They found the dogs, as well as the four suspects and about $5,000 in crack cocaine and cash.

Although the dogs are in good condition, investigators believe they were being bred to fight because of the conditions on the property and because they were being fed high-quality, high-protein food, Wright said.

The Darlington County Humane Society has been contacted to take care of the dogs, he said.

The case also is unusual because of the large amount of drugs and cash confiscated, as well as the number of people involved, Wright said.

Investigators also are trying to determine whether the four suspects are linked to a drive-by shooting of a Hartsville-area residence earlier in the week, Wright said. No one was injured in the shooting.

James Barrett, 38, of 1619 Patrick Highway; Triston Wesley of Bishopville; Kendrick Wesley, 20, and Kentrey Wesley, 18, both of Hartsville, are each charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute, Wright said.

Kendrick and Kentrey Wesley are brothers; Triston Wesley is their cousin, the sergeant said.

All four suspects were taken to the Darlington County Detention Center, where they will be held pending bond hearings.

Additional charges and arrests are possible as the investigation continues, Wright said.

Dog fights average nearly an hour in length and often last more than two hours. Dogfights end when one of the dogs will not or cannot continue.

Under South Carolina law, any person who owns an animal for the purpose of fighting or baiting, is a party to any fighting or baiting of any animal or obtains the use of any structure for the purpose of fighting or baiting any animal is guilty of a felony and upon conviction must be punished by a fine of $5,000 or five years in prison or both.

The law also provides for seizure and forfeiture of animals used in fighting operations.

Attorney General Henry McMaster formed a dogfighting task force in March 2004 to crack down on the crime. Within about six months, state and local authorities made criminal cases against at least 28 people suspected of dogfighting or owning equipment used to support it.

Law enforcement and Humane Society officials have said it’s believed dogfighting is about a $500 million industry among 50,000 dog fighters nationwide, according to a 2007 report in The (Sumter) Item. The money is made through betting, gate receipts, drug deals and dog sales.

The Humane Society estimates 30,000 people across the nation participate in dogfighting, the report said.

South Carolina is a favorite spot because the state has a great deal of rural space, and breeders here have produced several winning blood lines, he said.


Amanda said...

This makes me furious, I hope those dogs get a chance! I'm fostering a boxer/pit mix for our rescue right now and she is such a joy.