Dog fighting is a major problem in this country, but law enforcement recently “took a bite out of crime” in what the Humane Society of Missouri is calling “the largest dog fighting raid in
As part of a nation-wide crackdown on dog fighting rings, local animal welfare organizations teamed up with the Federal authorities to arrest approximately 30 people and rescued as many 200 dogs in
Five men and more than 150 dogs, being called Pit Bull Terriers at this time, were taken into custody. Motions have been filed by the U.S. Attorney there to take legal ownership of the dogs and place the animals in the care and custody of the Humane Society of Missouri, says a Justice Department press release.
In the Fox News article, Mark Levine notes, The Humane Society of Missouri were the original tipsters, and alerted the FBI to the dog-fighting rings.
The five Missouri men – Michael Morgan, Robert Hackman, Teddy Kiriakidis, Ronald Creach and Jack Ruppel –- are responsible for running highly developed kennels that purchase, breed, train, condition and develop Pit Bull Terriers into fighting dogs for competition rings. Some of their kennels names include: "Shake Rattle and Roll Kennel," "Ozark Hillbillys Kennel," and "Hard Goodbye Kennel”, Fox revealed, citing the indictment as their source. In the indictment is is alleged the men “routinely inhumanely abandoned, destroyed, and otherwise disposed of Pit Bull Terriers that lost fighting competitions,” the Justice Department press release said.
"Forcing a dog to fight to its death is not a sport," states John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge of the
Though there have been no official statements released thus far about the fate of the dogs rescued in this sting, there is speculation that many will have to be humanely euthanized. Almost always, dogs used in actual fighting must be euthanized, because it is nearly impossible to train out this behavior. However, puppies, breeding bitches and bait dogs may have a better fate. After football star Michael Vic made headlines for his own arrest involving dog-fighting, many of the dogs rescued from his dog-fighting operation were able to go onto lead happy, healthy lives in loving forever homes.
According to the press release, and Fox News article, the specific charges against the
- Michael Morgan, a/k/a Missouri Mike, 38, Hannibal, MO, on two felony counts of conspiracy to commit federal offenses and one felony count of prohibitions against animal fighting ventures;
- Robert Hackman, 55,
- Teddy Kiriakidis, a/k/a Teddy Bogart, 50,
- Ronald Creach, 34,
- Jack Ruppel, 35
If convicted, each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000.
Some Quick Dog Fighting Facts courtesy of Danny and Ron's Rescue:
- Humane Society estimates 40,000 "professional" dog fighters in U.S.
- Official says there could be an additional 100,000 "street" dog fighters
- Purses at top-level dogfights may be $100,000
- Dog fighting a felony in 48 states, a misdemeanor in Idaho and Wyoming (note: some sources say dog fighting is now a felony in all 50 states)