Eight men in South Carolina were arrested after police stumbled upon an active dog fight.
Florence County sheriff's deputies had gone to a vacant lot in Effingham, South Carolina, as part of a drug investigation, reports WFMB. When they arrived, they say they found a dog fight in progress.
Several suspects attempted to flee the scene, but were caught in the nearby woods and taken into custody.
One suspect was stopped when a dog involved in the fight “took him down," according to a posting by Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone.
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One pitbull was turned over to Florence County Environmental Services, but the dog who stopped the suspect escaped.
A spokesperson for the Florence County Sheriff’s Office says additional search warrants in regard to the possible dog fighting ring are being obtained.
Edward Windham, 32, was the only suspect of eight who remained in custody for several days after the incident. The remaining suspects were released the morning after their arrests. According to the Florence County Detention Center, Windham has been charged with one count of animal fighting or baiting and was served with four magistrate’s court bench warrants.
The seven other men are Walter Taylor, 59, Rodney Cooper, 33, Brandon Williams, 32, Harold Small, 35, George McCall, 36, Daniel Parks, 34, and Benjamin Harrison, 38.
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The men had constructed a temporary dog fighting ring in the vacant lot. Officers seized the ring, as well as four vehicles, three firearms, a small amount of cocaine and marijuana, and $2,847, SCNow reports.
“It’s difficult for one agency to actually crack one of these rings,” said Captain Michael Nunn of the Florence County Sheriff’s Office. “That’s why you don’t see it more prominently in prosecutions and apprehensions, but we do the best we can.”
“The individuals engaged in these activities do so secretively and underground,” Nunn continued. “They are highly secretive about where and when the dog fights are going to take place. It’s a tight circle on individuals, it’s very difficult to break into those circles.”