It has been three weeks since the Autauga County Sheriff’s Office announced that they had received a tip and complaints which led them to a wooded area near two abandoned mobile homes, believed to be the site of an organized dog-fighting operation.
Chief Deputy Joe Sedinger told the Alabama News Network that they received a tip on Sunday, Dec. 1, that “some dogs were tied up in a woods” near the 500 block of North Pickett Street. The Montgomery Advertiser states that there was also an anonymous call that four-wheelers were disturbing the peace.
Sedinger said that when deputies arrived, they found 10 pit bulls in very poor condition and two others that were dead. Officials said they also found a makeshift dog-fighting ring nearby.
No arrests have been made yet in the case. The sheriff’s office told the Montgomery Advertiser that and the investigation has “taken a bit of a back seat the past two weeks.”
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The reason for the delay is that his office has been concentrating on efforts to recover the body of a man believed to have drowned Dec. 8 in Autaugaville. His body was recovered Sunday. The drowning was not connected to the dog-fighting investigation.
“We’ve slowed down a little bit working that drowning,” Sheriff Herbie Johnson told the Montgomery Advertiser, “We are going to get back on the dogs. We have a couple of strong leads we are working on. I believe eventually the public will come forward down there in Autaugaville and help us with this situation where we can make some arrests.”
The live dogs found at the Picket Street site were taken to the Prattville-Autauga Humane Society, where they have remained and received care.
Autauga District Judge Joy Booth ordered that the dogs be evaluated by Bama Bully Rescue, a pit bull and bulldog rescue group in Fultondale, Judge. Booth asked the group to assess the dogs and determine whether they could be rehabilitated, court records show. On Friday, Booth issued an order stating seven of the dogs could be adopted while three would have to be destroyed, according to the courthouse record.
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“Dog fighting is usually a rural problem in Autauga and surrounding counties, where such activities can go unnoticed,” Johnson said. “Breaking up dog fights is difficult.”
“I know it’s going on in my county, and the counties around us,” he said. “But knowing it and proving it are two different things. Usually the person putting on the fight will call a group of people and tell them to be at a certain place at a certain time.”
“When everybody gets there, they lay down their bets, then fight two dogs or four dogs. Then everybody leaves. It may only take 20 to 30 minutes from start to finish, so it’s hard to make a raid under those conditions.”
Still, the sheriff is confident arrests will be made.
An unusual aspect in this case, reporter Roney points out, is that a dog-fighting pit, lined with plywood, was found behind several mobile homes.
“Somebody in Autaugaville knew this was going on,” Sheriff Johnson said. “That close to those houses, that activity can’t be missed. Those dogs make a terrible racket when they are fighting; they are fighting for their lives. You can’t miss that.”
Source: Montgomery Advertiser