Local News

Dog-fighting ring busted in Halifax County

Posted December 2, 2008

— Nine men were arrested Sunday morning when Halifax County deputies broke up what they described as a highly organized dog-fighting ring on a farm east of Interstate 95, authorities said Tuesday.

Following a complaint of dog fighting near Enfield, deputies worked with county animal control officers and raided a farm off Bellamy's Mill Road early Sunday as a fight was in progress. About 20 people were at the fight, and most fled into nearby woods, authorities said.

Three pit bulls were seized, and one that was badly injured was  euthanized Monday, authorities said. Deputies also seized three handguns, marijuana and drug scales.

"The extent of the injuries that (the dogs) receive from the fights (are) so severe that a lot of these animals do not make it. They do not survive," said Lt. Bobby Martin of the Halifax County Sheriff's Office.

Because the dogs were trained to fight, they are unsuitable for adoption, meaning the others likely will have to be euthanized as well, animal control officer Robert Richardson said.

Animal control officers on Tuesday found a fourth pit bull that was involved in the fighting ring. The dog was attacking chickens on a rural road, authorities said.

"You have to wonder about the people that do it when you see the animals," Richardson said.

The following men were charged with dog fighting and have a Dec. 30 court date:

Charles Rives, 26, and Corey Sledge, 21, both of Whitakers; William Harris, 33, Ervin Brothers, 30, and Vernon Perry, 42, all of Elizabeth City; Scott Murphy, 28, of Corapeake; and Osaze Addae, 35, Richard Robinson, 32, and Anthony Wright, 33, all of Richmond, Va.

Rives also was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and possession of marijuana, and Wright also was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and altering a serial number on a weapon.

Deputies said they believe Rives acted as a fight promoter, attracting participants and spectators from North Carolina and Virginia. The raid occurred on property owned by Rives' family, authorities said.

"They were charging $20 a head for people [to] come and just to watch," Martin said.

Deputies said the ring might have been in operation for at least a year, noting that they discovered several dog skeletons on the property.

"They brought animals from Virginia for the sole purpose to fight," Martin said, adding that federal charges could be filed in the case.

The case remains under investigation and more arrests are possible, authorities said.

Halifax County Crime Stoppers offers rewards for information leading to the arrest of people involved in animal fighting. The organization can be reached at 252-583-4444.


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  • MR EVANS Dec 3, 2008

    Dog fighting has been going on for decades in this state as well as fighting rosters. Until Micheal Vick was charged this crime was one the back burner. Most people convicted were only given probation or a fine. We will see if this has changed since the high profile case of Vick. Will we see just State charges or will this be a Federal case as well since some of the dogs were transported across state lines. I doubt it but we will see.

  • CrewMax Dec 3, 2008

    One aspect to dog-fighting that seems to get left out of the story
    is the theft of family pets that are used to "train" these fighting dogs. There was a lot of dog-fighting in the town I used to live in (a lot of chicken plucking, too) and it seemed like family dogs disappeared all the time. The dog owners throw these peaceful and loving pets in the pen for their dogs to tear up and get their thrills. It is a sick practice and a sick "sport".

  • hkypky Dec 3, 2008

    Sue: "I cannot wrap my mind around the idea that people actually consider this a sport."

    It's not a sport and even they don't consider it to be one. These guys are out to make a $buck with little regard to the dogs or anyone who stands between them and that source of income.

    If jail is good enough for Mike Vick, it's good enough for these jokers.

    Personally, I would support cutting whatever jail time they get in half and make them spend that other half working full-time at SPCA shelters with the stipulation that if they miss a single day at the shelter, they go back to the pokey for 2x the time.

  • Scubagirl Dec 3, 2008

    I feel so bad for the dogs and especially the puppies and little ones that are used for baiting! Everytime I read/hear one of these stories it just makes me so sad to know that people who call themselves human can do something so INHUMANE!
    These guys need to be locked up for a very long time.

    I agree w/ the severest of punishments those here have suggested. Just disgusting!

  • outragedinnc Dec 3, 2008

    This story is unbelievable! It amazes me that humans can act and treat animals so inhumanely.

    My suggestion for their punishment: Lock them in a 2x2 outdoor pin, have them all huddled in there together. Give them NO food for DAYS and then allow them out into the courtyard with other prisoners to watch as they beat each other to death. Allow this to happen till all of them expire.

    Sound ridiculous? This is precisely what they did to those poor innocent animals that the major one convicted actually 'breeds.' HUM.

    Maximum punishment and sentences is my vote. Their asinine behavior is inexcuseable, appauling and utterly disgusting. SHAME ON THEM!!!!!

  • 1 of the original Americans Dec 2, 2008

    where did you think the people that were at Micheal Vic's place went?

  • Sue Donym Dec 2, 2008

    What a shame the animals aren't even adoptable as a result of living a life of cruelty. I cannot wrap my mind around the idea that people actually consider this a sport.

  • kcole32 Dec 2, 2008

    i am a animal cruelty investigator for the next county over,i hope the da`s office in halifax county will seek help in getting these guys convicted to the fullest,it is so wrong and so cruel to these good dogs that can be very loyal pets.

  • meganhauser Dec 2, 2008

    Pit bulls really are sweethearts. However, with events such as this, you can't mention owning a pit bull (my sister does), without so many negative reactions.

  • f6rider Dec 2, 2008

    They should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. A person that would be involved in this type of activity is of the lowest form of life there is in my opinion. I hope they burn for what they have done.