Protesters Outside Courthouse Of Dog-Fighting Ring Hearings - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/17/08-Jefferson

Protesters Outside Courthouse Of Dog-Fighting Ring Hearings

Thursday, some East Texans decided to hold a protest against the inhumane act of dog fighting, a demonstration they called, "Take A Stand For A Friend." This, after a huge dog-fighting ring bust back in January.

"Thou shalt not kill," "Stop the Abuse" - these were all signs a dozen East Texans held up outside the Marion County Courthouse.

"We don't want a slap on the wrist, we want it carried out to the fullest extent," says Humane Society of Marion County President Caroline Wedding.

She's talking about justice. Not for a person, but for dogs, specifically pit bulls found bleeding after authorities raided a massive dog-fighting ring in Marion County in January.

"We all have to speak up and we have to stop this atrocity. Animals should not be used for this purpose, animals are to be loved, and to love us," Wedding explains.

They're protesting outside because of what's going on inside--several of the ring's spectators that were arrested are now facing the judge.  One man has already pled guilty and gotten five days in jail.

"All of the people on the docket today...this is not their first fight, this is an Internet advertised dog fighting ring," Wedding goes on to say.

Demonstrators hope their signs will help raise awareness about what's going on in Marion County's own backyard.

"That's the best outcome is exposure to the potential problem...it is a problem that affects everybody," says Dr. Carol Hedges, a local veterinarian.

"Some people have had pets stolen that they feel were probably used to train some of these dogs," Wedding says.

BeJe Foster thinks she's one of those people. She says four of her pit bulls, including three puppies, were stolen around the time of the raid.

"I never suspected anything like that was happening...the more I found out about it, the more it just totally floored me," she says.

The other spectator defendants on the docket who pled guilty Thursday either received five days jail time or one year probation. 

Tracy Watler, Reporting tracy@kltv.com.

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