Police Say Stolen Dogs Trained To Fight, Some Used As Bait For Dog Fighting Ring - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Police Say Stolen Dogs Trained To Fight, Some Used As Bait For Dog Fighting Ring

Family pets, stolen and trained to be killers. Tyler police recently discovered several pit bulls, mistreated and abused at a home in what is believed to be part of a dog fighting ring.

The house is located in the 1000 block of South Lyons Avenue in Tyler. In a nearby field, police discovered the remains of dogs believed to have been killed or used as bait in the fights.

The man who lives at the home, Demarcus Keshawn Johnson, 18, was arrested Wednesday. Johnson is believed to one of the members of the dog fighting ring. Authorities said this is one of Tyler's worst cases of animal cruelty.

"It hurt, it hurt me so bad," said Dorothy Jones.

Dorothy said a part of her heart was stolen last January when thieves took her pet pit bull, Sara, from her backyard.

"I always keep a leash on her on the back porch so she doesn't run the yard and bark," Dorothy said, "and I went out to leash her and I couldn't find her."

Neighbors told Dorothy they saw two men force her dog over the fence.

"I was hysterical."

Two months later, Dorothy's friend told her of pit bulls rescued from a fighting ring. One of them, was Sara. However, the marks on Sara's face are evidence of abuse at the hands of dog fighters.

"She's scarred up, her face and all, all of these, all of this," Dorothy said showing the scratches and bite marks on Sara's body.

Others have not been as fortunate as Dorothy. Tyler police recently found nine dogs, including Sara, at a Tyler home. Animal control brought them to the Humane Society of Smith County.

"They had obviously been in fights they had scars all over their heads, bite marks and their ears were clipped," said Operations Manager, Terry Cashion. "That's one trait of a fighting dog."

Thursday morning, seven unclaimed dogs were euthanized. The Humane Society said it was a step they were forced to take.

"It's hard to rehabilitate them," Terry said, "and the liability that goes along with it, we just can't adopt that type of dog."

Police believe the ringleader in the case, Demarcus Keshawn Johnson trained the dogs to fight or used them for bait, all for cash. Empty kennels police said once held stolen dogs, still sit behind Johnson's home. Just a few feet away, police uncovered another horror. A shallow grave where Animal Control discovered the remains of at least one dog, it was across a field that the remains of decomposing dogs were found dumped on top of the ground.

KLTV tried to contact Demarcus Johnson but was unable to reach him. Johnson is out on bond on misdemeanor theft and dog fighting charges. Dorothy Jones said his penalty seems like only a slap on the wrist.

"It's like taking someone's child," Dorothy said. "I mean it wouldn't be a misdemeanor if it was a baby, kidnapped it, abused. That's terrible. People will say it's not the same. Animals and kids are not the same. No they're not. Children are little human beings but our pets are our pet, they're still God's creature, they shouldn't be treated like that."

If you believe you have been a victim or have any information in this case, the police urge you to contact them. A reward will be offered for information leading to an arrest.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com

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