25 jailed after bust of Claiborne dogfighting

Published 12:07 pm Monday, November 22, 2010

A “major” dogfighting ring busted in Claiborne County late Saturday night sent 25 people to the Claiborne jail and 13 dogs to a Vicksburg animal shelter.

Claiborne County Sheriff Frank Davis said his department was acting on a tip when deputies broke up the ring around 8 p.m. in a wooded area behind the property owned by Bryan K. Eggleston, 6030 Mississippi 547, between Pattison and Port Gibson.

“This is the first major bust in our county” in the 31 years Davis has been sheriff, he said.

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A fight between the pit bull dogs had just ended when six Claiborne deputies and a Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks game warden approached the property, Davis said.

“There was a bloody fighting pen,” he said. “Some of the dogs were still aggressive.”

Twelve pit bulls and a Chihuahua, a pet with one of the arrested men, were seized, along with an undisclosed amount of cash and medicine used for the animals’ wounds.

Searches of spectators’ vehicles turned up weapons, which also were seized, Davis said.

In addition, a 17-year-old arrested at the fight was released to her parents and was not charged, Davis said. She was not identified because of her age.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office assisted in transferring the animals to the Vicksburg-Warren Humane Society on U.S. 61 South, Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said.

Georgia Lynn, the shelter’s president and director, said her facility is awaiting directions from authorities before a decision will be made on what will happen to the dogs.

Twelve dogs picked up in Warren County on Oct. 8 were ordered by Warren County Circuit Court to be euthanized, which they were on Oct. 24.

Davis said seven of the pits seized Saturday night belonged to Eggleston, who was arrested and charged with felony dogfighting. The owners of the other dogs were not identified.

Davis said the fight had attracted “at least 50” spectators from Mississippi, Texas and Alabama.

About half escaped by running into nearby woods, Davis said.

He said this morning more arrests are expected.

In addition to Eggleston, those arrested Saturday night were Justin Ellis, Heath Rigmaiden, Kendrick Linson, Donnell Wells, Jerry A. Sandifer, Ralph Burleigh, Jesse Price Jr., Percy Brown, James H. Davis, Roger L. Young, Robert L. Ross, Eric Crews, Joey Chan, Kanesha Merritt, Courtney Brown, Patrick T. Moore, Stephen Forcht, Takyia Jackson, Curtis Wallace, Russell A. Poole, Orlando Akins, Charles S. Rhodes, Brenda Jernign, Kenisha Buckley.

No ages or addresses were available on any of the suspects, all being held at the Claiborne jail and expected to be charged with felony dogfighting.

If convicted, the suspects could face prison terms of up to three years and fines of $1,000 to $1,500.