(Benton County, MS) A heinous and highly organized dog fighting ring lands dozens behind bars in a Benton county jail.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation along with deputies from Benton, Marshall Fayette and DeSoto counties spent the day cleaning up and looking into the ring that was so complex and large that authorities from the nation’s capital flew in to help.
It looked like folks were watching a movie along the back roads of Benton County, but a bloody scene showed the party was for the 26 pit-bull terriers rescued during a large dog fighting bust.
“Dog fighting is pretty heinous if you look at the animals its pure torture I don’t think anybody should tolerate that,” Benton County Chief Deputy Joe Batts.
Batts says a couple of days ago, law enforcement all across Northern Mississippi discovered there was a group going around the area connecting a series of high stakes mauling matches, but agents didn’t know where they were until early Easter Sunday morning.
“It was for a few minutes pretty chaotic, shots were fired,” said Batts.
About 50 were arrested, taken away in a school bus and now facing felony dog fighting charges.
Batts believes more escaped through the woods because close to 80 cars were towed away Sunday.
The cars were from all over, including Texas, New Hampshire, and Florida.
“Hopefully it’s going to send a message that this activity is not tolerated,” said Chris Schindler with the Humane Society of the United States.
Schindler drove in from DC to help with the investigation.
He calls the bust, nationally significant, “The number of individuals attended and the actual players involved in this operation."
They were dog fighters known for cashing in on the canine carnage much more organized than a couple of dogs fighting to survive.
“There's referees, there's rules,” said Schindler.
Schindler says he is happy agents were able to make such a large bust and he's looking forward to placing the 26 dogs in homes where they will be truly loved.
“These dogs know they are being rescued, they want affection,” said Batts.
Investigators are still looking for those who may have escaped the dog fighting ring.
The Humane Society is offering up to a $5,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to a conviction.