A major dog fighting ring was busted this week by authorities in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas. Eleven people were arrested, and 367 pit bull terriers were freed.
A 30-count indictment states that the dog fighting ring operated from 2009 to 2013. The 11 people who were arrested were charged with various violations related to gambling and animal abuse. Authorities seized about $500,000 from the operation.
U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. said that the lowest ring of hell is probably filled with people who abuse animals. Beck won’t be able to sentence the crooks to an eternity in hell but he does expect the 11 people involved in the dog fighting ring to serve “lengthy” prison sentences.
Beck said: “It’s really a sad day to me and a sad day of affairs in the state of Alabama to have to even indulge in this type of criminal activity and prosecution… I believe if Dante were alive today and were rewriting ‘The Inferno,’ that the lowest places in hell would be reserved for those who commit cruelty to our animals and to our children.”
The attorney said that the defendants were betting as much as $200,000 on the fights.
Beck said: “These dog fighters abuse, starve and kill their dogs for the supposed ‘fun’ of watching and gambling on a dogfight. Their behavior is deplorable, will not be tolerated, and will be punished to the full extent of the law.”
The BBC notes that local authorities, the FBI, the Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals worked together to break up the dog fighting ring.
Matt Bershadker, president and chief executive officer of the ASPCA, said: “Today, we ended the torture of hundreds of abused and neglected dogs.”
More than 350 pit bulls were freed from the dog fighting ring. The animals were taken to a temporary home where they are currently being cared for by the ASPCA and the Humane Society. Once the trial is over, the dogs will be retrained and hopefully find new homes.