Alleged Dogfighting Ring Busted

Alleged Dogfighting Ring Busted
By: Holly Brantley

STODDARD COUNTY, Mo. - Sheriff Carl Hefner says it's a first for Stoddard County, as authorities break up an alleged dogfighting ring.
Three men are in custody.  Deputies with the Missouri Highway Patrol, sheriff's department, and SEMO Drug Task force, along with Humane Society workers rounded up 25 pit bulls and another dog on a remote property near Dudley.  Investigators say the site had all the elements of professional dogfighting.
"We have everything from very young pups to older dogs with years of battle scars," said Tim Rickey with the Missouri Humane Society.
Officers recovered tread mills and bloody equipment believed to be used for the fights.
"Animal fighting is a very lucrative business.  These fights can bring in thousands and the animals can be very expensive too," Rickey said.
Some residents tell Heartland News they are completely surprised to hear there was dogfighting going on yards from their homes.  Others say they saw plenty of traffic moving up and down a road near the alleged training site.  Just about every resident agrees dogfighting in Stoddard County is shocking.
However, Humane Society investigators say the rural area is a typical setting for dogfighting.
"People think they can get away with this here," Rickey said.
"We will work this case, just as hard as we work everything else, " said Sheriff Carl Hefner. "We depend on the public for information. "
A tip led investigators to the area where the dogs were found in this case.  They remind people sometimes that's all it takes to stop animal cruelty.
Investigators say they also found an illegal controlled substance on the property.  Jean Jay of the Missouri Humane Society says the dogs have been treated by a vet in St. Louis.  They'll be held for evidence and then a court will decide what happens next.