EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - 30 people have been arrested and about 350 pit bulls seized in dog fighting raids across five states, including right here in East Texas. Eight people were arrested and nine dogs seized, mostly pit bulls, at a home on County Road 241 outside Beckville.
Working on a tip from the Humane Society in Missouri, undercover federal agents have been working since last October on the alleged dog fighting rings, and it all culminated Wednesday morning, in the seizing of all the pit bulls.
Now, federal agencies say dog fights were held on some property near Beckville in Panola County. On May 2, federal authorities say the property owner, Karl S. Courtney hosted two dog fights there. The undercover agents won $1,500 the first fight and lost $1,000 the second fight. So, we're talking pretty big money. Now, the indictment also says, members of the ring would travel to other states, Oklahoma in particular, to hold dog fighting competitions.
"The scope of dog fighting is beyond most people's imagine - comprehension - but it is so hard to infiltrate those groups and get in to the groups which is what you have to do if you make cases against these individuals," said Richard Moore, assistant U.S. Attorney. "It's a despicable event."
Courtney's neighbors said they had heard small town rumors of something going on. One said their dog had been attacked by a pit and they never let their children out of sight, as they worried for them as well. Another was in complete shock and had no idea something of this magnitude was going on.
Another 500 dogs were seized in North Texas, but this time from a puppy mill in Bowie.
The Humane Society of North Texas said the dogs were found in poor condition, cruel confinements and many of the animals needed treatment for skin conditions. The Humane Society is housing the dogs at a donated warehouse.