Deputies stumble upon dog fighting operation

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputies checking on loose horses in a rural part of the county stumbled upon a dog fighting operation Monday night.

Deputy Marcus McLellan explained that officers were called out to an area on Smokey Lane about 7:41 p.m. and from previous calls knew the owner of the horses lived in the 8000 block of Rogers Avenue just one street over.

But when deputies arrived they saw a large number of vehicles at the home and a large crowd of people behind the home. They also smelled the odor of burnt marijuana in the air.

“They either had a spotter or a look-out,” McLellan said of the black male who looked around the home and saw the deputies approaching. The estimated crowd of 40 to 50 people then fled.

McLellan said with one deputy around the corner dealing with the horses and the other coming upon the scene they did not try and pursue the fleeing individuals due to safety issues.

“He didn’t know why they were running until he went and saw the two dogs covered in blood,” he said.

Once in the backyard, deputies saw a square wooden pit. Inside the wooden pit were two pit bull dogs. The dogs were severely injured and one of the dogs was bleeding profusely.

In addition to the fighting pit deputies also located a dog treadmill.

Additional deputies arrived along with Beaumont Animal Control, Beaumont Police Department ID Unit and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Livestock deputy.

“It was apparent that people were using this location for dog fighting and dog fight training due to evidence found at that location,” he said.

There were several dogs at the location that were injured and all the dogs were seized and taken to the Beaumont Animal Shelter.

A seizure hearing will be held at a later date and with no one claiming the dogs they will be awarded to the state. From there they will be evaluated to determine if they can be adopted out or put down, he said.

The owner of the property told deputies she did not know anything about the dog fighting. If charges are pursued and she is found guilty she may face felony charges for allowing the dog fighting.

“From time to time we do hear about dog fighting operations. We usually get a tip and follow-up on it but by that time they’re packed up and done,” he said.

This isn’t the first time a dog fighting operation was discovered in the area. A Beaumont man was arrested in 2014 by the Drug Enforcement Agency for unrelated charged when officers searching his home found dogs with injuries believed to be from dog fighting. A total of 13 dogs were seized from the home as well as a dog treadmill, weighted harnesses, bite sticks and syringes.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website calls dog fighting one of the most heinous forms of anima cruelty. Fighting dogs are typically raised in isolation and spend most of their lives on short, heavy chains. They are conditioned for fighting through the use of drugs; including anabolic steroids to enhance muscle mass and encourage aggressiveness.

Dog fighting is a felony is all 50 states but it still continues across the country.

Investigating the incident will take a lot of legwork, McLellan said. Persons with information related to this crime can call the Sheriff’s Office at 835-8411 or Crime Stoppers at 833-TIPS (8477).

E-mail: mary.meaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews

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