Nearly $2 million fine imposed in Mississippi dog fighting case

MS dog fighting
Photo courtesy of Meredith Lee For the Humane Society of the United States

The Mississippi Link reported recently that a federal judge has ordered the participants in a 2013 multi-state dog fighting operation to pay restitution in the amount of nearly $2 million.

Donnie Anderson, who staged fights near Auburn, Alabama, and was described by the judge as the “kingpin” of the conspiracy, was ordered to pay $580,000. He is serving 8 years in prison, four times longer than Michael Vick served.
Other defendants’ outcomes:
Ricky Van Lee (Biloxi, MS): 4 years and $627,389 for 68 dogs.
Michael Martin (Auburn, MS): 5 years and $458,752 for his 55 dogs.
Demontt Allen (Houston, TX): 5 years
Irkis Forrest (Theordore, AL): 3 years
William Antone Edwards (Brantley, AL): 1 year
Sandy Brown (Brownsville, AL): 6 months

The amount of the fines for the last four defendants wasn’t reported individually, but the total for all four was over $321,000.

A total of 350 dogs were seized, but once the pregnant ones had their puppies, area dog rescues were forced to care for more than 450 dogs.  About half were rehabilitated and adopted, but many were too sick or injured to avoid euthanasia. The cost to the rescues was estimated at $5.5 million, and it is not expected that the defendants will be able to pay even the portion of that which they were fined.

The fine of nearly $2 million and the long prison terms are historic in that they signal the government is finally getting serious in punishing this horrendous crime.

Hopefully, if the fines and prison terms get big enough, it will be a deterrent.  It’s hard to convince people that the huge upside in terms of profit isn’t worth the price if you get caught, but these most recent punishments are a step in the right direction.

Until next time,

Good day, and good dog!

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