Local News

Evidence Found in Northampton County of Alleged Dogfighting Ring

Posted August 27, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Authorities think they have found a major dog fighting ring in Northampton County.

They have the dogs, and they have a home video that they plan to use as evidence.

Officers say dozens of people may be involved in the alleged ring and investigators say they have never seen anything like it.

Last week, all the dogs in the Roanoke Rapids animal shelter were stolen. Investigators think they may have been used as sparring partners for the pit bulls found in Garysburg.

Investigators have not charged anyone in the case but they expect to arrest several people in the next few days and charge them with felony animal cruelty.

Officers in Garysburg were sniffing around for drugs -- what they found were animals in chains, some tightly bound to make-shift doghouses. Syringes were everywhere.

"They are breeding the dogs here, said Sgt. Norman Smith of the Northampton County Sheriff's Department. "They begin the training process here."

Investigators believe the pit bulls are not pets but instead are being used for the blood sport of dog fighting.

"We found several dogs with severe scratches to the face and lacerations to the face. We found books where you could order equipment used in dog fighting," Smith said.

One of the books gives fight results from around the country and lists kennels by name. Officers also found a home video that shows people training dogs to be aggressive. Also on that tape: a grizzly dog fight.

"Some of these dogs fight to the death with owners and spectators cheering on and placing bets," Smith said.

Police believe the actual fights are taking place somewhere in Halifax County and dozens of people could be involved in the illegal trade.

"It encompasses two counties thus far, and we also think we have people coming out of southeastern Virginia"

"They think this is a sporting event," Smith said. "I don't"