A veterinarian's assistant is one of three people now charged with dog fighting allegations. Those allegations stem from a raid last Tuesday at a property on Vidalia Road. The vet tech is Constance Jean Courtney. According to affidavits sent to WLOX News, the 23-year-old is accused of two counts of training pit bulls to fight other dogs.
John Wesley Black was also arrested on two counts of dog fighting.
The suspect facing the most prison time is the property owner Maxwell Landry. He's linked to 43 counts of illegal dog fighting in Harrison County.
Almost a week after the pit bulls were discovered in a dog fighting training complex, one of the animals quietly sat in a cage. But Tara High warned people not to let the pit bull's demeanor fool you.
"The reality is that they've been used for entertainment," the Humane Society of South Mississippi's executive director said.
In another cage, High said signs of illegal dog fighting were evident on a dog's face and body.
"It's quite tragic for those of us that are kind of left to deal with it and the reality that these animals aren't going to be able to be rehabilitated," she said.
Last Tuesday, investigators from around the region raided a property on Vidalia Road. They found 45 pit bulls either chained in a dog fighting training compound, locked in kennels, or living in a nearby trailer.
A follow up investigation by the humane society uncovered lineage evidence that High said linked these animals to a professional dog fighting operation. High compared the animals to "a loaded weapon. And not something we feel very comfortable letting out into the community." In other words, she said, "More than likely they'll all be euthanized."
For now, the 45 pit bulls seized last Tuesday are in a secret location. And they'll stay out of the public eye until the Humane Society gets a court order.
If they're found guilty, dog fighting suspects Maxwell Landry, John Wesley Black and Constance Jean Courtney could spend a minimum of one year in prison per illegal dog fighting charge. Landry is named in 43 counts. Black and Courtney are linked to two dog fighting allegations.
The Humane Society's executive director hopes this case sends a message, "that it's not okay. That there's a price to pay. And the price, the risk of participating in this activity outweighs the benefit."
Harrison County Prosecutor Herman Cox was told Landry owns the property where the dogs were discovered. Cox said the suspect confessed to investigators that he made about $5,000 a month fighting his dogs against other dogs.
Authorities found out about Landry's reported role in dog fighting while they were about to arrest him on drug charges. Landry is one of 14 people allegedly tied to drug trafficking between Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina.