Society

Dog Fighting, Chop-Shop Bust: 11 Wounded Pit Bulls Found, Woman, 2 Men Arrested

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

Sumtner County sheriff’s deputies have arrested two men and a woman  in connection with a suspected chop-shop and dog-fighting operation in Olanta, South Carolina, reports the Sumtner Item.

Latoya Williams-McCall, 29, was the third person taken into custody and charged with 11 counts of ill treatment of animals, 11 counts of dog fighting or baiting, three counts of altering or defacing a vehicle identification number, two counts of possession of a stolen vehicle valued at $10,000 or more, one count of unlawful transportation or selling of a vehicle, one count of receiving stolen goods valued at $10,000 or more, one count of possession of meth or cocaine base and manufacture or distribution of cocaine base, the Item reports.

Officers also booked Robert Gerome McFadden, 30, and 49-year-old Robert Kennedy Ingram, 49, on the same charges.

On August 2, 2014, deputies went to a home at 10630 Nero Circle in Olanta to serve a warrant. When no one answered the door, officers looked at a vehicle in the back of the home to check the address and discovered that the car's vehicle identification plate had been removed.

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Officers then obtained a search warrant, and as they searched the premises, they reportedly found two more vehicles that had altered or removed VIN plates: a GMC dual-wheel truck reportedly stolen out of Harleyville, and a Chevrolet Impala which was dismantled.

A 2007 Chevy Suburban (reported stolen) was found with an alternate tag that wasn't registered to it, along with a $12,000 Cam Am ATV that was reportedly stolen from Coward.

During the search, officers also discovered 11 Pit Bulls chained in a wooded area at the back of the property. All the dogs had scars and wounds indicating extensive ill treatment and consistent with dog fighting.

Other evidence collected at the scene supported the officers’ suspicion that the animals had been used for dog fighting and baiting, according to the sheriff’s incident report.

Deputies articulated that the Pit Bulls “had severe bite wounds, and showed traits and behavior of dog fighting,” WLTX reports.

Officers found trace amounts of a substance inside the house, which was tested and confirmed to be crack cocaine, the Item states.

SUSPECTS FACE STIFF PENALTIES

Latoya Williams-McCall  appeared before Magistrate Judge George Gibson on Friday, August 8, for a bond hearing.

Judge Gibson set the bond for each count against Williams-McCall at $2,500, but he lowered the baiting charges to $1,000 per count.  Her total bond amount was $41,000.

Robert McFadden appeared before Magistrate Judge Joe Davis on Wednesday, August 13, and received a total bond of $61,000, the Sumtner Item reports.

McFadden could face 100 years in prison and $200,000 in fines and was placed on GPS monitoring as a stipulation of his bond.

Sources: The Item, WLTX