County Prosecutor in MS Drops the Ball on Dogfighting Case

On September 26, 2011, sheriff’s deputies in Adams Co, MS responded to a tip about dogfighting.  At the scene, they found 5 chained Pitbulls with injuries, blood on the leaves on the ground, a bloody breakstick and medications for treating dog wounds.  Photographs of the injuries and of the scene were taken for evidence.  The dogs were removed from the scene by members of the county humane society to a local vet clinic.  One of the dogs had his face partially ripped off and another dog’s tooth embedded in his gum.  The embedded tooth caused a systemic infection which lead to organ failure and the dog was euthanized.  (Warning:  There is a photo of this dog’s face at the link.)  The remaining dogs were left at the clinic for treatment and boarding to the tune of a $3000 vet bill.

Shortly thereafter, two area men were arrested and charged with felony dogfighting.  One of the men reportedly admitted he was the owner of the dogs.

A preliminary hearing was held for the men yesterday.  The county prosecutor subpoenaed two sheriff’s deputies to testify as to what they saw at the scene of the suspected dogfight.  Nobody told the sheriff about the hearing.  Nobody told the humane society staffers about the hearing either so they did not testify as to what they witnessed nor were they able to present the veterinary records on the dogs.  One of the deputies said he thought he had told the prosecutor there were evidence photos in the case file but the prosecutor said he didn’t know about any photos so none were presented to the judge.  The man who had previously confessed to owning the dogs apparently changed his wording at the hearing to characterizing them as hunting dogs.

In the absence of physical evidence, the judge dismissed the case.  She ruled that there was no probable cause that dogfighting had occurred at the scene or that the suspects had committed the crime.  She also said that the deputy’s description of the dogs’ injuries was just his layman’s opinion.

It sounds to me as if the prosecutor invested minimal, if any, effort in this case.  By failing to contact all the relevant witnesses, secure expert veterinary testimony, and inquire to the sheriff about all available evidence obtained at the scene, the prosecutor had this case stumbling at the starting gate.  I hope he gets his act together and seeks justice for the victims of this sad crime.  There is a glimmer of hope:

The case can still be presented to the grand jury for review, and District Attorney Ronnie Harper said he met with the sheriff and is reviewing any action, if any, he can take in the case.

I’d like to think the DA has taken the county prosecutor to the woodshed on this and that we’ll see the case move forward with a grand jury presentment soon.

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5 Comments

  1. ezbuddy

     /  December 17, 2011

    It seems hard enough just to catch the idiots who are involved in dog fighting. Then when they do… they blow it! You know they’ll be right back at dog fighting as soon as they move somewhere else, and dog fighting, I’ve heard, usually involves other illegal activities.

    Shame on a procecuter who has such a case in hand and allows the vicious people to walk. Would it do any good to write the D.A. or procecuter, or is it too late?

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  December 18, 2011

      I’m writing. I encourage EVERYBODY to write. Not just to DA, but also the judge…any newspapers, news stations….EVERYBODY! It is NEVER too late!

      And you are right – *most* of the time there is other illegal activity involved – but not always. Sometimes you just have a bunch of backward jack butts that get off on watching dogs tear each other up – if you have a “winner” it gives you status. I wish they’d just go back to the old west stand offs. Give the idiots a couple of guns and let them shoot themselves, because they are basically trying to prove they are better just by having a dog that can kill or mortally wound another.

      Reply
  2. Erica

     /  December 18, 2011

    I just want to go get those dogs! What I want to do to the people involved is neither appropriate or kind. I hope the folks at the vet cliinic are giving them lots of love and attention.

    AND I hope the DA gets his crap together. I have watched too many low life’s walk away from stuff like this because they weren’t caught “in the act”…and that is just plain bullshit! Judges/police/etc that insist you have to catch them in the act are just as bad as the people who fight the dogs. Blood and tore up dogs – especially pits – it’s clear there is fighting involved. Why have to take the man power to do surveillance, set up a possible infiltrator and *hope* that they can get the guys to stage a fight just to bust them. UGH! Sadly I’ve been involved in too many cases where that is exactly what the powers that be WANT to be able to put the nail in the coffin. And it’s sick, sick sick!

    Hunting dogs don’t look like that poor dog that lost his life! Definitely a fought dog…and the people responsible need to pay! I hope the people within this community step up and say enough is enough. These folks NEVER need to touch another animal…..EVER.

    Reply
  3. KateH

     /  December 18, 2011

    That judge bears some responsibility in this cock-up as well. When the case was presented, she could have asked the prosecutor, “Is this all? You must have had something else to show me – where is it?” Then continue the case (and maybe warning the prosecutor that he better have things worked out the next time he presents a case to her) while witnesses are called. I completely support due process, especially that the accused should be allowed to question the witnesses against him. If witnesses aren’t there, though, the court should find out why. If they didn’t show up because the prosecution was a jagoff, they should be given 24 hours to be brought to court before the case is thrown out and the accused walks away from the charges. I guess in this case there’s still a chance to get it right, but the DA should kick that prosecutor’s ass and get someone willing to do the work right with the grand jury. The DA had better not give up on this. If he does, he’s a spineless jerk.

    Reply
  4. Was this DA involved with the fighting of these dogs,, i see a lot of this, and later on hear about judges, da’s ,lawyers, and other county, governmert being involved in this act as well. lets look into his background .

    Reply

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