After the George County Sheriff's Office rescued 24 injured pit bulls from a suspected dog fighting ring earlier this week, the dogs are being treated and evaluated for possible adoption.
The dogs were taken to a temporary shelter Saturday, Sheriff Keith Havard said in a press release, where they will receive medical care and "behavioral enrichment" from veterinarians until they can be placed with local shelters for adoption.
The dogs were rescued along with several roosters from a home in the 2200 block of Bexley Road South on Wednesday morning. Deputies also found a quarter-pound of marijuana, MDMA (ecstasy), a stolen ATV and a stolen motorcycle, the sheriff said.
The pit bulls were found in "pretty poor" health and tied to trees behind a trailer.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is assisting with the dogs, Havard said, along with local rescue groups Dixie Adoptables and Southern Hinds County Animal Shelter.
“This is an example of federal, state, and local agencies working together to make our communities safer," Havard said. "It is our hope that this new partnership will continue to benefit the citizens of George County, and that opportunities to build on the teamwork established here will afford our community more resources for fighting animal crimes, and the criminal activities that surround that lifestyle.”
Kofe Benard Riley, 38, of George County, was arrested on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and faces additional charges including possession of a controlled substance and receiving stolen property. Other charges are possible as the investigation continues, Havard said.
“Being tied to heavy chains and being forced to fight only to feed their owner’s greed is no way to live," said Kathryn Destreza, Investigations Director of the ASPCA Field Investigations & Response team. "We’re pleased to be able to assist local authorities in providing resources, expertise and caring for these animals until we can determine suitable placement options and give many of them the second chance they deserve.”