Police seize 12 wounded, chained pit bulls Firefighters discover dogs while battling blaze in county

Published 12:05 am Saturday, October 9, 2010

Twelve chained pit bull terriers, three with severe wounds believed to be from dog fighting, were seized Friday by the Warren County Sheriff’s Department after being found chained in a wooded area north of C.J. Fisher Drive.

Firefighters extinguishing a nearby blaze and checking the woods for secondary flareups heard dogs barking, investigated and found the dogs, Sheriff Martin Pace said.

It was the second pit bull seizure in three years from the area, which is about 1/2 mile west of Mississippi 27 and 1/4 to 1/2 mile north of C.J. Fisher, a private road off the state highway. Wounds and scarring on the dogs indicate they had been used for illegal dog fighting, Pace said.

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“We have located the property owner, who gave us permission to go on to his property and recover the dogs,” said the sheriff. The owner is not believed to be responsible for the dogs and is not facing charges, but investigators are following leads and hope to make an arrest, he added.

Staff from the Vicksburg-Warren Human Society assisted fire and rescue workers, deputies and investigators, who worked all morning freeing the pit bulls from where they had been tethered by heavy logging chains to metal stakes in the woods. The stakes were fabricated from lawnmower or tractor axles, Culkin Volunteer Fire Chief Jerry Briggs said.

The dogs had no food, and the little water found in containers nearby was dank and stagnant, Pace said.

After being loaded in cages into vans and trucks, they were taken to the rescue shelter on U.S. 61 South.

A grim Georgia Lynn, Humane Society president, examined each dog as it was unloaded, placed in a kennel and given food and water. She said the way the animals were staked was “typical pit bull fashion” with no dog able to reach any other.

One of the pit bulls, a 3-year-old black male, has severe fighting wounds, Lynn said. “He has been fought over and over and over,” she said. Another, a brindle-stripe female about 2 or 3 years old, had been used both for fighting and breeding and was extremely aggressive toward other dogs, she said.

The seven female and five male dogs range in age from about 2 to about 8 years old, Lynn said. All but two showed wounds and scars consistent with having been used for dog fighting, and all are in bad overall condition, with necks rubbed raw from thick, wide collars kept too tight and other general health problems. Two have wounds that appear to have been suffered within the last month, but many of the wounds are old, she said.

Firefighters from the Culkin and Bovina volunteer fire departments first responded to Forestry Service reports of fire in the area off C.J. Fisher Drive Thursday night, Briggs said. They returned twice to extinguish flare-ups and made the discovery after 8:30 a.m. Friday.

Earlier this year, after two wounded pit bulls were seized from a home on Speed Street, Lynn said that dogfighting is prevalent in Warren County. Friday, she said others had challenged those comments but she was standing by them.

“We have a serious problem. These last three hours we just spent out there proves it,” Lynn said. “Dogfighting is a serious problem, not just in the county, off dirt roads, but within the city limits as well.”

Lynn said the dogs would have blood drawn and be treated. She said they probably were not adoptable.

In November 2007, five pit bulls were found and seized on the same property off C.J. Fisher Drive. Several days earlier, 12 pit bull terriers were seized from a property about a mile southeast of the same site.

In 2004, a Warren County man was charged with training dogs. Nine pit bull terriers and equipment, including treadmills and neck chains were seized by Warren County deputies in that case.

The defendant, Jon Brown of Beeline Drive, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years under the supervision of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Felony dogfighting carries a penalty of a maximum three years in prison and fines from $1,000 to $5,000.