More than 40 dogs rescued from dogfighting ring in Daytona Beach

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Volusia County Animal Services, Halifax Humane Society, Daytona Beach Animal Control and the Daytona Beach Police Department rescued 42 pit bulls – 24 adult dogs and 18 puppies living in substandard conditions with little or no access to clean water or food.

According to the press release from the Daytona Beach Police Department, three men were arrested and charged with multiple animal cruelty crimes, animal fighting and practicing veterinary medicine without a license. Noble Geathers, 53, Earl Holmes, 50, and Benjamin Ponder, 33, were charged after authorities obtained search warrants to enter the properties located at 225 and 227 Reva Street as well as an adjacent vacant lot on February 22, 2021.

Geathers is facing 35 charges including 24 counts of animal fighting, 10 counts of felony animal cruelty and one count of practicing veterinary medicine without a license. He has since posted bond and is out of jail. Ponder faces the same charges as well as drug charges and has also posted bond. Homes is charged with 10 counts of  practicing veterinary medicine without a license and 10 counts of felony animal cruelty. He remains in the Volusia County Jail.

Most of the dogs had been kept outside in small kennels made of wood and wire, in car carriers or chained to car axles. Many of the female dogs were pregnant or recently had litters. Other dogs lived in areas surrounded by urine and feces. Rescued dogs wore collars that had to be cut off because of how tight they were around the dogs’ necks.

In addition, many of the dogs were found with healing cuts and wounds consistent with dog fighting injuries.

Officers recovered medical records for the dogs indicating dog supplements and medications given to the dogs including a medication often used in dog fighting to increase red blood cell production as well as stamina and endurance.

The dogs have been transported to the Halifax Humane Society. A court hearing will determine if the dogs will be returned to the defendants or be awarded to the police department. It is hoped if the dogs are forfeited from their current owners, some will be able to be adopted.

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