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120 dogs rescued in major dogfighting bust by federal and SC law enforcement

Ted Clifford, The State on

Published in News & Features

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Some 120 dogs were seized Thursday following a dogfighting bust that took place across the Midlands and Upstate South Carolina, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for South Carolina has confirmed.

It is the largest single seizure of dogs from South Carolina dogfighting rings since a 60-agency effort recovered more that 300 dogs and saw the arrest of more than 20 people almost exactly one year ago.

That operation was believed to be the largest single day, single state dogfighting bust in the country. Thursday’s operation is believed to have been the second largest, investigators say.

“We’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Dogfighting operations will find no refuge here in South Carolina,” U.S. Attorney Adair Burroughs told The State.

The U.S. Attorneys Office confirmed that 10 search warrants were executed at properties across the Midlands and the Upstate.

Investigators from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General led the investigation. They were assisted by agents from SLED, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and local law enforcement agencies.


No federal arrests were made Thursday, the U.S. Attorneys Office confirmed. The State has contacted SLED for more information about local arrests.

Narcotics and weapons were also found during Thursday’s operation, which grew out of leads generated by the ongoing investigation from last September’s bust, investigators confirmed to The State.

The Animal Welfare Act makes it a felony punishable by up to five years in federal prison to fight dogs or to possess, train, sell, buy, deliver, receive or transport dogs intended for use in dog fighting.

Dogfighting is also illegal in South Carolina under the 1986 Animal Fighting and Baiting Act and punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.


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