Multiple agencies raid large dog fighting event in Benton County

The parking lot at Benton County Fairgrounds is filled to near capacity with vehicles impounded following the arrest of dozens of individuals suspected of being involved in dog fighting.

The parking lot at Benton County Fairgrounds is filled to near capacity with vehicles impounded following the arrest of dozens of individuals suspected of being involved in dog fighting.

ASHLAND — Local law enforcement and court officials are preparing for the arraignment of over 45 individuals today in Benton County Justice Court following the raid of a suspected dogfighting event on Sunday.
The raid took place at a location off of Hwy. 72 in Benton County. The Benton County Sheriff’s Department worked with multiple agencies on this case, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Marshalls, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Desoto County Sheriff’s Department, Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, Fayette County, Tenn. Sheriff’s Department, Hardeman County, Tenn. Sheriff’s Department, Ashland Police Department, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
The event is believed to be part of an organized dog fighting ring and suspects are from across the nation – some from as far as California. Over 45 individuals are currently in custody. Too many to house in Benton County Jail, there are also suspects in custody in Marshall and Tippah Counties. More suspects may be forthcoming. Approximately 80 vehicles, seized from the property, are impounded at Benton County Agri-Center in Ashland.
Some suspects may have escaped into the woods surrounding the rural location, as fire was opened on law enforcement at the scene.

According to the ASPCA website, the American Pit Bull Terrier is most commonly used in dog fighting in America.

According to the ASPCA website, the American Pit Bull Terrier is most commonly used in dog fighting in America.

The Humane Society assisted with care for the dogs found on the scene.
“This dogfighting case will send shockwaves through the dogfighting community. It’s going to show no matter where they try to have these operations, if law enforcement finds out, they’re going to take swift action,” Marshall County Sheriff Major Kelly McMillen told Fox 13.
“If you look at the animals, it’s pure torture. I don’t think anybody should tolerate that,” Chief Deputy Joe Batts told WREG.
Suspects will begin to be arraigned in Benton County Justice Court today. More information will be published as it becomes available.

About Joyce Brock

Joyce Brock is the News Editor of the Southern Advocate newspaper. A lifelong Benton County resident, she has been a member of the Southern Advocate team for over seven years.

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  • Diane

    The fact that so many law enforcement agencies were involved with this case means it will lead to convictions. The misnamed Humane Society of the United States, which is facing a $5 million lawsuit for an illegal raid and seizure of over 150 animals in South Dakota, claims to be caring for the rescued dogs. They probably do have some volunteers helping out, along with cameras rolling so they can profit off the work of others. HSUS always swoops in on cases they had nothing to do with, has a lawyer get them legal custody of the dogs so they can get publicity and raise money off them.

    After federal and local law enforcement agencies rescued 400+ dogs from a multi-state fighting ring, the Humane Society of Missouri, which assisted in the investigation, did the lions share of animal care. HSUS was one of dozens of groups that had volunteers helping with the temporary shelter, and helped far less than cash-strapped rescues and other national groups. After the case was adjudicated, HSUS launched a $1 million fundraising campaign using one of the pit bulls as a prop. They even spelled her name wrong. When called out on this scheme by dozens of rescuers and bloggers, HSUS rushed $5000 to the dog’s actual caretaker, and then continued to raise money using Fay (HSUS spelled it Faye) – even after she died.

    That is just one of HSUS’s many, many fundraising scandals. Not surprising for an organization that fraudulently raised millions by pretending to be caring for Michael Vick’s rescued dogs, while lobbying to have them all killed. And Vick has been an HSUS spokesman and fundraiser for over three years – and counting.