34 arrested in west Georgia dog-fighting raid

Authorities in west Georgia arrested 34 people and seized 27 vehicles, several guns and over $28,000 in cash in a Saturday night raid on an alleged dog-fighting operation in Meriwether County.

According to Meriwether Sheriff Chuck Smith, officers from several agencies, bolstered by helicopters from the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office and the state Department of Natural Resources, took part in the raid, which went down off Happy Hollow Drive around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

“Our narcotics unit has worked on gathering intelligence on the event and at a moment’s notice they rallied up and met at the training center where a briefing was conducted,” Smith said in an e-mail.

“When the helicopter pilots hit their target with spotlights, participants and spectators ran into the arms of waiting officers holding a perimeter around the event,” Smith said.

He said deputies found a large “fighting pit” and an emaciated, bleeding female pit bull terrier. That dog was taken into protective custody, along with another dog seized, the sheriff said.

One of the vehicles confiscated was a large “Express Wings” catering truck that was set up to serve fried chicken and fish to spectators.

Deputies also seized five guns, two generators and lighting equipment.

One of those arrested was wanted by U.S. Marshals on a federal indictment accusing him of dog fighting, according to Smith.

He said those arrested, some of them local and some from as far away as Arkansas and Michigan, face various charges, including gambling, cruelty to animals, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, theft-by-receiving stolen property and conspiracy to commit or promote dog fighting.

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