Convicted dog breeder David Tant was granted parole Wednesday. He served five years and 10 months, and will be released in four weeks or less, well before his release date. He was originally sentenced to 30 years. Attorney General Henry McMaster says the 5-2 decision by the board sends the wrong message to people who have been fighting to stop dog fighting.
Tant’s attorney is Doug Jennings, the retiring Marlboro County representative. Jennings says Tant has already served longer than anyone else for a similar crime in the U.S. He says McMaster is right that Tant’s crime is serious, but he says there is no reason to make his client a “whipping boy.”
Tant’s original charge of 41 counts, one for each dog he had, was reduced down to six counts, which still left him with a 30-year sentence.
Charleston Animal Society board member Charlie Karesh told media he would not want Tant volunteering at any animal shelters as was required on pro football player Michael Vick. Jennings says there’s no chance of that, anyway.
David Tant was very candid with the board, saying that he would never own any dogs or have anything to do with them. I imagine that Mr. Tant will find other good ways to use his time other than volunteering at an animal shelter. In fact, he will be involved in some post-prison ministry programs.
Jennings says the case received a lot of national attention and he’s glad that the parole board was able to set aside politics and sensationalism and deal with Tant fairly.
The state attorney general says the 63-year-old was considered the second largest breeder of fighting dogs in the U.S. and sold the dogs for as much as $10,000 each to buyers as far away as Asia.