YORK COUNTY, SC – More than 300 dogs were seized Sunday morning as part of an operation to crack down on illegal breeding and fighting dogs in York County and other South Carolina counties, have announced the authorities.
A joint team of over 60 federal and state law enforcement officers executed nearly two dozen warrants for various properties in the Midlands region. The operation is considered the largest takedown of an air combat operation in South Carolina history.
Operation officers halted a scheduled dogfight match in Richland County on Saturday. The next morning, officers executed 23 search warrants at various residences and properties in Richland, York, Orangeburg, Clarendon, Lee and Sumter counties that were kennels known for dogfighting or associated with dogfighting. authorities said.
“Forcing 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 drug-related activities. and firearms,” U.S. Attorney Adair said. F. Boroughs.
Of the 305 dogs rescued over the weekend, 275 are believed to be associated with dog fighting.
The Humane Society of the United States and Bark Nation supported the operation, assisting with animal handling and are currently assisting with animal care, a statement said. Officers seized about 30 firearms, $40,000 in cash and various evidence related to dogfights, authorities said. More than 20 people have been arrested on state charges involving animal cruelty and dog fighting.
The Animal Welfare Act makes it a felony punishable by up to five years in federal prison for dog fighting or for owning, training, selling, buying, delivering, receiving, or transporting dogs for use in dog fighting.
At one property in York, around 50 pit bull dogs and 30 beagles were found. The sheriff’s office said the dogs were taken by York County Animal Control and a contracted company that specializes in rescuing fighting dogs.
“Animal cruelty on all levels is disturbing,” Sheriff Kevin Tolson said. “We are grateful to work with all levels of law enforcement to combat the wickedness of animal fighting. I urge the courts to help bring justice from this point forward.
Authorities said three people in York have been arrested on other charges relating to stolen property and various narcotics charges.
(WATCH BELOW: ‘Absolutely horrific’: Dozens of dogs seized in possible dogfighting ring in Gastonia)
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