Saturday, July 19, 2008

Appalachian Circuit District Attorney Raids Major Dogfighting Operation

The Appalachian Circuit District Attorney's office, acting on intelligence provided by The Humane Society of the United States and Norred & Associates, today (July 17, 2008) raided "Mountain Swamp Kennels," an alleged dogfighting operation in Blue Ridge, Ga. Albert Glenn White, the apparent owner of the operation, was arrested and charged with approximately 22 counts of felony dogfighting. Authorities found three dogfighting pits on the property and seized 22 dogs along with suspected dogfighting paraphernalia. Several dogs had scars consistent with dogfighting.

White is reportedly an influential figure in the underground dogfighting circuit and is the breeder of several pit bull bloodlines that are cherished by dogfighters.

"Today's raid on Mountain Swap Kennels was a textbook dogfighting case," said Laura Bevan, director of The HSUS' Southeast regional office. "District Attorney Joe Hendricks' investigators acted quickly against this suspected dogfighting operation. The raid shows that once law enforcement is given the necessary tools, they are ready and able to bring animal fighters to justice."

Dr. Melinda Merck, forensic veterinarian and leader of American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals' CSI Unit, assisted with the raid and evaluated the seized dogs for evidence of animal fighting. The Zell Miller Mountain Parkway Drug Task Force and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources also took part in the raid.

Information regarding Mountain Swamp Kennels was first provided to The HSUS via its tip line, 877-TIP-HSUS. The HSUS animal fighting tip line was established by Atlanta-based corporate security and investigations firm Norred & Associates in the wake of the Michael Vick case so that Georgia residents can easily report illegal animal fighting to authorities.

The HSUS offers up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in animal fighting. The HSUS' animal fighting reward program has been made possible thanks to a grant by the Holland M. Ware Charitable Foundation, which is also based in Atlanta.

"Georgia's newly strengthened dogfighting law has made it possible to crack down on one of the nation's leading dogfighting figures," said Appalachian Circuit District Attorney Joe Hendricks. "I commend my office's lead investigator in this case, Kenny Crook, The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA, The Zell Miller Mountain Parkway Drug Task Force, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia State Patrol for their hard work in making this raid happen."

It is a felony to own, possess, train, transport or sell a dog for the purpose of dogfighting in Georgia. Those involved in illegal dogfighting, as White is alleged, can receive one to five years in prison, a minimum fine of $5,000 or both. On May 16, Gov. Sonny Purdue signed legislation strengthening the state's dogfighting law.

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