UPDATED: 168 animals rescued in suspected dogfighting bust in Middle Georgia

This dog was among the 168 rescued this week in Middle Georgia. (Photo: U.S. Attorney's Office in Middle Georgia)
This dog was among the 168 rescued this week in Middle Georgia. (Photo: U.S. Attorney's Office in Middle Georgia)

Federal investigators have busted a suspected dogfighting ring and rescued 168 animals, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Middle Georgia said Thursday.

Many of the dogs were malnourished and had scarring, and two required emergency surgery, U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler said. One female pit bull was chained with broken legs, according to investigators.

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Search warrants were executed in seven counties: Crawford, Peach, Bibb, Houston, Taylor, Talbot and Webster. The dogs were taken out of state and were in the care of the U.S. Marshals Service, but their exact locations were not released.

 

“I am incredibly grateful to the law enforcement teams who came together from all over the region to rescue these abused animals as we continue to investigate this alleged dogfighting ring,” Peeler said in an emailed statement. “Illegal dogfighting is a barbaric activity. Those who choose to violate the Animal Welfare Act face serious consequences, including federal prison time, where there is no parole.”

The federal Animal Welfare Act prohibits organizing a fight between animals for the “purposes of sport, wagering or entertainment.” Those convicted of violating the federal law face up to five years in prison.

No arrests have been made in the case, which remains under investigation. Numerous federal, state and local agencies are assisting, Peeler said.

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