55 Dog Fighting Suspects In Court

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(Benton County, MS) Deputies made so many arrests in a suspected dog fighting ring, it took two court rooms and two judges to start sorting everything out Monday.

The ring was broken up Easter Sunday morning and 26 Pit Bull Terriers were rescued.

They arrested 55 people who had come from across the country.

Most all of the suspects refused comment, but one man wanted to set the record straight,

"Sir, any comment about your involvement with the dog fighting over the weekend?
'I was in the car asleep.'  Did you see what was going on? 'nah.' Where are you from? 'I'm from Ohio.'
Did you have a dog that was fighting? 'nah, I didn't see no dogs fighting."

He was one of the few suspects who was willing to say anything after deputies arrested dozens of people connected to a dog fighting ring in Benton County.

There were so many arrests,  prisoners had to be housed in three separate jails.

Thirty-five prisoners spent the night in the Marshall County jail in Holly Springs.

Marshall County Sheriff Kenny Dickerson, who took part in the raid, says the Benton County dog fighting ring was a "premier" dog fighting event,

They have four or five big ones a year all over the United States.

According to the intelligence that's been received, this was one of the big ones.

Monday's arraignment had to be held in two separate courtrooms with two separate judges presiding.

All those in custody face a State charge of dog fighting, which carries a fine up to $5,000 or a maximum three years in the state pen, or both.

All got a $20,000 bond.

Jovernia Smith, with All-Pro Bail Bonding, says this is a huge case and because some of the suspects are from out-of-town, his company has to take precautions, "We have a couple of bounty hunters on standby. So all we have right now is to try and get all the information we can and try to make sure we can get them back here at any point in time."