DOJ: 305 dogs rescued in ‘biggest takedown of dogfighting’ in SC

More than 300 dogs have been rescued from SC's largest dogfighting operation. More than 20 have been arrested
Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 12:23 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2022 at 5:37 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - The Department of Justice said a joint team of more than 60 federal and state law enforcement officers rescued hundreds of dogs and arrested more than 20 people in what they call the biggest takedown of dogfighting operation in South Carolina.

Officials said on Saturday, officers interrupted a scheduled dogfighting match in Richland County. The next morning, the officers executed 23 search warrants at various residences and properties in Richland, York, Orangeburg, Clarendon, Lee, and Sumter Counties that were known as dogfighting kennels or associated with dog fighting.

305 dogs were rescued, with 275 believed to be associated with dogfighting, said the Department of Justice. The Humane Society of the United States and Bark Nation supported the operation by assisting with animal handling and are currently assisting with the care of the animals.

Along with the dogs, officials said 30 firearms, $40,000 in cash, and various evidence related to dogfighting were seized. More than 20 individuals were arrested for state charges relating to animal cruelty and dogfighting.

SLED said the following suspects were charged in connection with the investigation.

  • Nevin Austin II of Orangeburg, SC
  • Dominique Berry of Orangeburg, SC
  • Joel Hosch-Cahcart of Salisbury, NC
  • Gary Ervin of Hartsville, SC
  • Joverek McClary of Eastover, SC
  • John Arthur of Hartsville, SC
  • Rashad Brown of Lamar, SC
  • Charles Palmer of Buffalo, NY
  • Kendrick Connor of Statesville, NC
  • Tyrus Dow of Cassatt, SC
  • Andrew Bryant Jr. of Sumter, SC
  • Julian Robinson of Hopkins, SC
  • Brandon Peoples of Lamar, SC
  • Roshell Brown of Bishopville, SC
  • Tyderick Thompson of Rembert, SC
  • Brett Carter of Dalzell, SC
  • Keith Dawkins of Gastonia, NC
  • Orlando Coullette of Sumter, SC
  • Tevin Joyner of Reinbert, SC
  • Damien Daniels of Amherst, NY

According to arrest warrants, Austin and Berry deprived dogs of food and shelter. Warrants say some of the dogs were held by heavy chains staked to the ground. They were suffering from multiple untreated health issues including infected wounds.

Investigators also said they found a dog fighting pit on the property with equipment used to train dogs to fight.

“To force dogs to fight, often to the death, for the enjoyment of others is not only a federal crime, it is also cruel, sadistic, and can create a haven for other illicit activities involving drugs and firearms,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. “This joint operation, which has been months in the making, makes clear that dogfighting operations will find no refuge here in South Carolina. I especially want to thank our state and federal partners, the Governor’s Office, and our community partners for their leadership and work on this issue.”

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 dogfighting.

Anyone with information on dogfighting operations here in South Carolina, call 1-800-424-9121.

John Herman McDaniell III was also arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance.

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