On Saturday January 11, 2014, at approximately 6:40 p.m. the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department received a complaint of possible dog fighting at 141 Bee Summers Road, in northern Rankin County. Rankin is located east of Jackson (the state capital).
When the responding deputy arrived on scene at approximately 7:00 p.m., he found at least 18 cars in the driveway and evidence of what appeared to be a dog fighting operation. Approximately 18 suspects fled on foot, many taking Pit Bulls with them, according to the Sheriff’s media release.
The deputy called for assistance due to the large number of people. Approximately 15 deputies responded and secured the residence and property.
Rankin County Sheriff Deputies seized three Pit Bulls and arrested the home owner, 29-year-old Nathaniel Cooper of Brandon, and two others who will be facing felony dog fighting charges (see photos below).
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Rankin County Court Judge Kent McDaniel issued a search warrant for the property and all vehicles on the property.
The search revealed a dog- fighting arena approximately 100 yards behind the residence. The arena appeared to be new. It had a generator and lighting, several areas where dogs had been obviously tied up, and scales hanging from a tree to weigh the dogs before they fight, supplies ready to bathe the dogs for the fight and carpet to line the arena floor.
Deputies also located equipment used to train and condition fighting dogs, including a treadmill and a large amount of additional evidence, according to the report.
The Sheriff’s department seized all vehicles left behind when the spectators and participants fled and had 18 vehicles towed to the impound yard. Some of the vehicles had evidence inside them that indicated they had been used to transport animals to the scene. Drugs, drug paraphernalia and alcohol were also located in some of the vehicles.
Deputies were able to catch three Pit Bulls. One had obvious scars and injuries from previous fights. All three dogs are being held as evidence against the three arrested. More arrests will be made of anyone the sheriff’s office is able to identify, says the media release.
Rankin County Animal Control was called in to tranquilize one of the pit bulls that couldn't be captured initially, WXOL reports.
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"It's a very vicious animal and it's just sad that a human being will do an animal like that," said Sheriff Bailey.
The homeowner, Nathaniel Cooper's charges include felony dog fighting, charges of owning and training dogs with intent to fight them, felon in possession of a firearm and two counts of violation of the Rankin County Animal Control Ordinance, WLOX reports.
The two others arrested were 27-year-old, Kyre A. Cooper of Brandon and 28-year-old Sedrick D. Lyles of Lena.
All three suspects were transported to the Rankin County Jail and will appear before Rankin County Court Judge Kent McDaniel on felony dog fighting.
The suspects will appear in Rankin County court Tuesday at 9 a.m. for an arraignment.
Officials said the investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are anticipated.