MONTGOMERY, AL (WTVM) - The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama has issued sentences for eight individuals involved in what was called the second-largest dog fighting ring in U.S. history on Wednesday.
The dog fighting ring, discovered in August 2013, has led to some of the strongest convictions involving dog fighting.
The sentences are as follows:
- Donnie Anderson, 50, of Auburn, AL, received an eight-year sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy, sponsoring dog fights, possessing a fighting dog and operating an illegal gambling business
- Demontt Allen, 38, of Houston, TX, received five years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy and admitting participation in high-stakes dog fights
- Michael Martin, 56, of Auburn, AL, received a five-year sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy and being a felon in possession of firearms
- Irkis Forrest, 33, of Theodore, AL, received a three-year sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy
- William Antone Edwards, 43, of Brantley, Ala. received one year and one day in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy
- Sandy Brown, 48, of Brownsville, AL, received six months in prison for sponsoring a dog fight
- Edward Duckworth, 39, of Decatur, GA., received 14 months in prison and two years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy
- Jennifer McDonald, 36, of Collins, MS., received two months in prison and two years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy.
News Leader 9's East Alabama reporter Elizabeth White stated on Nov. 7, Anderson, who was named as the "godfather" of dog fighting, hosted 80 fights, "where 480 pit bulls fought to generate money and amusement for hundreds of spectators. Bets averaged $100,000 per fight."
Anderson and 13 others were arrested last year. During the arrests, 367 dogs were seized, and more than 130 dogs and puppies were removed from Anderson's property.
"This is truly a landmark case for the animal welfare community," Rickey said. "We hope this case serves as a precedent for future dog fighting cases and sends a message to dog fighters everywhere that this crime will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We are grateful to Assistant U.S. Attorney Clark Morris of the Office of U.S. Attorney George L. Beck for her determination in seeking justice for the hundreds of dogs tortured at the hands of their owners."
Stay tuned to WTVM.com and News Leader 9 as this story develops.