Pit Bulls Await Humane Death Following Dog Fight Bust - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

12/23/02

Pit Bulls Await Humane Death Following Dog Fight Bust

Six pit bulls await a humane death at the animal shelter in Gulfport. The dogs were seized when deputies raided a dog fighting event in Stone County.

Some animal lovers have asked about adopting the dogs. But that won't be possible, since the dogs have been trained to be vicious.

Stone County deputies made 17 arrests the night of December 15th. Three of those people arrested face dog fighting charges. The others are charged with being spectators.

Law enforcers and animal welfare workers hope the recent bust raises awareness about the problem.

"It is a portable pit. That is what's used to put the dogs in so the fight can start. And the fight will continue until one of the animals is dead," said Stone County sheriff Mike Ballard, as he described the pit that is now evidence.

Deputies seized the fighting pit during a surprise raid on Bond Lott Cemetery Road. The site is located back in the woods less than five miles from downtown Wiggins.

The sheriff says the problem reaches beyond the animal violence.

"You also have gambling that you have to deal with. Narcotics that you have to deal with. So, it's a headache all the way around. You can go to the penitentiary for a year just for going to one of those events," said Sheriff Ballard.

Six pit bulls were spared a fight to the death. Unfortunately, they will ultimately be euthanized.

Mike Richard is the manager of the animal shelter in Gulfport, where the six seized pit bulls are being kepts.

"We've had a lot of people coming in to look at the dogs to see if one of them might have been theirs that was stolen in the past. We've had other people coming in wanting to know if they could adopt the dog just because they felt sorry for them," he explained.

The dogs will not be put up for adoption. Richard says although pit bulls can make good pets, these animals have been trained to be vicious.

He hopes this latest incident will better educate others about the problem.

"Unfortunately, I don't think there's enough education out there. Because it's going on in all the counties of South Mississippi. Very rarely do we get lucky enough to go ahead and have animal control seize this many dogs that were actually found in a fighting pit," Richard said.

The Stone County sheriff says the message for others is straight forward.

"If you set up a pit in Stone County, and we find it, you're going to jail. Plain and simple," said the sheriff.

Dog fighting is a felony. Anyone found guilty of watching a fight faces up to a five thousand dollar fine and up to a year in prison.

Those charged in this case have made their initial court appearance, but the cases haven't gone to trial yet.

By Steve Phillips

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