By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
ASHLAND – Local, state and federal authorities continue a multistate search for suspects involved in a large dogfighting event in Benton County on Saturday night.
More than 50 people have been arrested so far in connection with what was termed one of the nation’s most notorious dogfighting rings.
“We’re searching for at least 25 or 30 more suspects,” said Marshall County Sheriff Kenny Dickerson. His department joined others in DeSoto, Hardeman (Tenn.) and Fayette (Tenn.) counties, along with that partnered with Benton County Sheriff A. A. McMullen and his staff on the raid. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Mississippi Highway Patrol also participated.
“It’s a good end result of cooperative law enforcement work,” Dickerson said. “It’s what happens when local, state and federal agencies work together.”
Dickerson said more than 90 vehicles were impounded from the site.
Chris Schindler, manager of dogfighting investigations for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), said surviving dogs are being cared for in undisclosed locations.
“Sometimes these individuals will go to great lengths to get their dogs back,” he said.
Schindler said public awareness is a key to combating the crime of dogfighting.
“High numbers of cars coming into an isolated area might raise suspicions,” he said. “If they see dogs on someone’s property with injuries, it doesn’t hurt for them to call authorities.”
Anyone with information on other suspects is urged to call 877-TIP-HSUS (877-847-4787). Informants can remain anonymous and still be eligible for up to $5,000 reward if their information leads to a conviction.
Mississippi law makes direct involvement in a dogfight a felony punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment. Attending a dogfight is a felony punishable by up to one year in prison.