Twenty-four dogs are recovering at a Richland County animal shelter following the arrest of a man who police say was part of a suspected dog-fighting operation in
Sixteen dogs and eight puppies, all of them pit bulls, were recovered at the scene. The dogs were sent to the City of Columbia Animal Shelter on Sunday night. According to Lieutenant Curtis Wilson of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the dogs were malnourished and there were signs that the pit bulls had been in dog-fights.
However Marli Drum of the City of Columbia Animal Shelter said that their conditions could have been much worse. Drum said that no chronic wounds have been found on any of the dogs as of Tuesday afternoon.
“Had we had some serious wounds, there would have been some more vet care needed, and we’ve seen those before,” said Drum. “Fortunately it was not anything serious with these guys this time around. They’re lucky to be in the shape they’re in, but thankfully removed from a very bad situation.”
An on-staff veterinarian will medically examine the dogs and then a professional trainer will provide a behavioral evaluation, according to Drum.
Drum also said that once the dogs are healthier and properly trained, the shelter will focus on finding the dogs a new home. The dogs will be put up for adoption when the shelter believes they are safe to put back in the community. When the dogs are ready for adoption, they will already be spade, neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and tested for heartworms by the shelter. Drum said there is no adoption deadline for the dogs at this time, but acknowledged that space is an issue during the summer.
“We hope to give them as much time as we can and really try to make an effort for these guys because they’ve had a rough start to life. We’d like to see them get a second chance at enjoying what being a companion pet means.”
People who are interested in adopting the pit bulls can contact the shelter at (803)-776-7387.
Wilson said investigators are looking into when the suspected dog-fighting began.
Jacobi Anthony Green, 21, was taken into police custody Sunday night after deputies found a stolen motorcycle at his home on Crane Church Road. Police say there was a strong smell of marijuana coming from inside the home. Deputies then spotted Green running away from the house, which led to a short pursuit on foot, but deputies ended up catching the suspect.
The dogs were found inside a building on Green’s property. A dog-fighting pit was also found inside the building, according to investigators.
“Unfortunately it happens far too much,” said Wilson referring to animal fighting. “It’s something that Richland County sheriff’s deputies continue to crack down on. We have investigators who are assigned specifically on these types of crimes. As we continue to get out there, we’ll continue to locate, find and arrest those who are responsible for such devious acts.”
Police say that the investigation is ongoing and that more arrests could be on the way.
“We’re continuing to investigate. Additional arrests and charges could be forthcoming,” Wilson said.
Wilson said individuals who know anyone involved in this incident or anyone involved in dog-fighting should call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.
Green is charged with two counts of animal fighting and baiting, threatening the life of a public official, receiving stolen goods, resisting arrest, and simple possession of marijuana.
Jeremy Urso contributed to this report.