Wide leather collars, logging chains and other paraphernalia were laid out on the grass at a home just west of Danielsville last Thursday afternoon - all part of evidence that was being collected in the first arrest under Georgia’s new dog fighting law, which took effect July 1.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office, acting on intelligence provided by The Humane Society of the United States, arrested Jimmy Stewart Johnson, 28, at his Hwy. 98 home Thursday morning, charging him with eight felony counts of dogfighting, one for each of seven dogs seized during the raid, and one for the seizure of alleged dog fighting paraphernalia. Johnson is the alleged owner and operator of “Shakedown Kennels.”
Sheriff’s office and Humane Society officials found barrels scattered around the backyard for use as shelter for the dogs. Logging chains were attached to stakes in the ground near each barrel. Each dog was attached to a chain by a heavy collar. At least one of the female dogs confiscated was heavily pregnant, according to officials.
“Today’s raid is the first salvo in what we hope will be a long list of law enforcement actions that utilize Georgia’s newly strengthened law to end the horrible spectacle of dog fighting in the state,” said John Goodwin, head of the animal fighting enforcement division of the HSUS, based in Washington D.C. “The Madison County Sheriff’s Office deserves great recognition for taking such quick action against a suspected dog fighting operation. This raid shows that once law enforcement is given the necessary tools, they are ready and able to bring animal fighters to justice.”
The sheriff’s office says information regarding Shake Down Kennels was first provided to the HSUS via their tip line earlier this year. An investigation was launched, but authorities waited to make an arrest until after the new law took affect July 1, according to Goodwin.
This animal fighting tip line was established as a pro-bono venture by the Atlanta-based security firm Norred and Associates in the wake of the Michael Vick case so that Georgia residents can easily report illegal animal fighting to authorities. The Humane Society offers up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in animal fighting.
A Norred private investigator has been investigating the case since information about the kennel was received.
Dr. Melinda Merck, forensic veterinarian and leader of American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) Crime Scene Investigation Unit, also assisted with the raid and evaluated the seized dogs for evidence of animal fighting.
“We’ve got a good case,” she said, declining to comment on the details of the investigation.
The animals were taken to an undisclosed location by county animal control officers, according to Madison County investigator Buck Scoggins.
On May 16, of this year. Governor Sonny Purdue signed legislation that strengthens Georgia’s dogfighting law, making it a felony to own, possess, train, transport or sell a dog for the purpose of dogfighting.
The raid in Madison County is the first reported law enforcement action under the new law. Those involved in illegal dogfighting can receive one to five years in prison, a minimum fine of $5,000 or both, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.
“We will not tolerate those who promote and profit from illegal dogfighting in our county and we are grateful to both The HSUS and the ASPCA for their work on this case,” said Madison County Sheriff Clayton Lowe. “Now that we have the law on our side, the time when law enforcement had to turn a blind eye to illegal dogfighting is over.”
so owning one of these dogs will pretty much make it a felony to own them.what about hog hunters that use these dogs. are we going to have to worry about the insane society and other so called animal protection agencys from coming up with a so called witch hunt for any one that own these dogs.its already bad enough with some states having a larger insurance buffer on these dogs. as for the large chains and big collars. he didnt want them breaking off to do harmfuk damage to other people.
daren, you're a jac%###. I own pits, dobermans, and other large breed dogs. It doesn't take a logging chain to restrain a 60lbs. I bet you starve your dogs before a "hog hunt" don't you? Your ignorance is the first view people have of madison county. Obviously this must have been a buddy of yours or a relative. Was it your idea for the logging chains?
Exactly what do you use to restrain your dogs because a 3/8 chain which is what was use for these dogs is not to heavy for them at all. And anyone that is a responsible owner wants to make sure there dogs are secure and cannot get off so there's no harm to other animals or there own JACK###!!! And he's not one of my buddies so know your facts first you incompetent a##™££ before passing judgement when you know nothing. And if you didn't know in this country its supposed to be innocent until proven guilty so go in the woods you da#* tree hugger!
Darren, would you read the law before passing judgement? It bans possessing a dog with intent to fight, period. That doesn't effect hog hunters. 49 states have laws like that. I'm glad the law is being enforced. I hope more dogfighters go down.