In Macon, Georgia, 11 federal search warrants were executed Wednesday morning related to suspected violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and drug trafficking, resulting in the rescue of 156 dogs.
The investigation has been going on for months via multi agencies concerning allegations of illegal dog fighting and drug trafficking.
According to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle District of Georgia, the dogs are now in the custody and care of the U.S. Marshals Service. Many of the dogs presented as malnourished and are scarred from previous fights. Some of the dogs will require surgery.
An emergency veterinarian was at the scene to administer care to the dogs; one dog had been chained with broken legs, malnourished and overbred. At least two dogs had emergency surgery to treat their injuries.
“I am incredibly grateful to the law enforcement teams who came together from all over the region to rescue these abused animals as we continue to investigate this alleged dog fighting ring,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “Illegal dog fighting is a barbaric activity. Those who choose to violate the Animal Welfare Act face serious consequences, including federal prison time, where there is no parole.”
“The provisions of the Animal Welfare Act were designed to protect animals from being used in illegal fighting ventures, which often entail other forms of criminal activity involving drugs, firearms, and gambling,” said Special Agent in Charge Jason Williams of the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General (USDA-OIG). “Animal fighting is an investigative priority for USDA-OIG, and together with the Department of Justice, we will work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and assist in the criminal prosecution of those who participate in animal fighting ventures.”
Eleven warrants were served at the following locations:
- 323 Ruby Street, Macon, Bibb County, Georgia
- 16 Spruce Lane, Roberta, Crawford County, Georgia
- 99 Calloway Drive, Roberta, Crawford County, Georgia
- 107 Stanton Circle, Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia
- 407 Vienna Street, Fort Valley, Peach County, Georgia
- 718 Green Street, Apt. A101, Fort Valley, Peach County, Georgia
- 223 Buckrun Road, Talbotton, Talbot County, Georgia
- 293 Chapman Road, Shiloh, Talbot County, Georgia
- 838 Jeff Hendricks Road, Woodland, Talbot County, Georgia
- 65 Turner Estates Road, Reynolds, Taylor County, Georgia
- 369 Millard Kennedy Road, Preston, Webster County, Georgia
For the safety of the dogs, the location of the rescued animals will not be shared with the public, but they are receiving veterinary care. Thank you to the USDA-OIG, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, DOJ-ENRD, GBI, Bibb S.O., Crawford S.O., Houston S.O., Merriweather S.O., Peach S.O., Taylor S.O., Webster S.O., Bryon P.D., and Fort Valley P.D.
Offenses related to dog fighting are felonies; those found guilty can serve five years in prison for each offense.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Bowen Mize is prosecuting the case for the Government. Questions can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Director (Contractor), United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.
Updates to follow.
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