More pit bulls taken to pound

Photo by Avan Clark

Photo by Avan Clark

ALBANY, Ga. -- A law enforcement sweep of possible dog-fighting operations put about 20 pit bulls or pit bull mix breed dogs into the Albany Humane Society's care Tuesday.

The sweep started Saturday night and the investigation continues, officials said.

"Since Saturday we have taken in more than 120 dogs," said Donna Strickland, Humane Society executive director. "We have 300 animals here. We have run out of space and have gone in debt to buy more pens."

Not all the dogs taken in were from law enforcement agencies, Strickland said. However, the sweep accounted for more than 105 dogs, which strains the facility's capacity, she added.

Add the 20 dogs from Tuesday to the mix and the adoptable dogs already at the shelter had to be housed outside in the dog runs and other available spaces.

A fence company was to deliver 10 pens at a cost of $5,000 to help house the overflow, Strickland said.

A few of the dogs were fighting each other when they were brought into the shelter, Strickland said. At least two were put down because they were seriously injured, she said.

The dogs, brought in as part of the investigation into what the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Mike Lewis called a highly-organized, dog-fighting enterprise, will be kept at the facility as evidence.

It could take months until the dogs are no longer needed for evidence, Strickland said. Most, if not all, face euthanasia, she added.

"We are not turning dogs away whose owners want to put them up for adoption," Strickland said. "But we would like to ask that anyone who wants to bring a dog here to hold off for a week or more. We are so crowded that if a dog is brought in we might have to euthanize it that day instead of keeping it."

The latest batch of dogs came from following up on a search warrant on the 3400 block of Aristedes Road by the Dougherty County Police Department, said police Chief Don Cheek.

The search warrant was part of an investigation that included another county location, 5205 Dower Ave., officials said. Arrested in connection with the raid on that location, 12 men and one woman are in Dougherty County jail charged under felony dog-fighting statutes with no bail set, a Dougherty County jail spokeswoman said.

Demitri Sherrod Jackson, 32, ran away from the Dower Avenue scene Saturday, Cheek said. He turned himself in to the jail and was booked at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday for dog fighting and cruelty to children, a jail spokeswoman said. No explanation of the cruelty to children charge was immediately available.

Another man wanted in connection with the case remains at large, but officials have not yet positively identified him.

Albany Animal Control officers cleaned out dogs from the 200 block of Wells and the 700 block of West Second Avenues. No one was arrested, but Carey Culbreath was cited for animal care violations.

"We don't know if they are connected," said Phyllis Banks, Albany Police Department spokeswoman.

The relationships among the dog owners and the various locations that stretched from Albany through Dougherty County and into Worth County where more dogs were seized is under investigation, Lewis said.

The sweep of the dog-fighting ring was in the works for months, Lewis said. The money involved in gambling could be as high as "tens of thousands of dollars," he said.

The Humane Society could use volunteers to help with the surplus of animals. Dog food, cat food and any other donations would be appreciated.

The shelter is at 1705 Oakridge Drive. The phone number is (229) 888-7387.

Dougherty County jail spokeswoman said that the following were arrested in the dog-fighting ring sweep and charged with felony dog fighting:

- Timothy Deasell Hopkins, 37, Demetrius Quintavious Jones, 20, William Hawkins Burnes, 37, Pamela Lynn Sutton, 26, Travis Jamon Davis, 23, Tedrick Juan Jakson, 34, and Cedric Bernard Lewis, 38, all of Albany.

- Mario Tremaine Wilson, 27, Michael Scott Bass, 36, and Antonio Rodreguez Martin, 24, all of Ashburn.

- Arthur Lee Clark Jr. 35, of Sumner.

- Roger Henry Jr. 34, of Tifton.

- Derrick Dwayne Williams, 33, of Camilla.