MERIWETHER COUNTY, GA (WTVM) - Multiple agencies across Georgia raided a dog fighting operation in Meriwether County on Jan. 18.
According to Meriwether County Sheriff Chuck Smith, numerous officers converged at a location on Callaway Rd. at 10:30 that night. Two helicopters shined spotlights on the targets and the officers formed a perimeter around the event to capture participants as they attempted to run away.
An "emaciated, bleeding, crippled female pit bull terrier" was found inside a large fighting pit. Both she and another dog were rescued.
"Animal Control Officer Beth Miller advised that she was hopeful that the dog found in this pit could be saved. I'm appreciative to her for assisting us," Sheriff Smith stated in a press release.
Approximately $28,000 cash was seized along with 27 vehicles, five guns, two generators, lighting equipment and scales.
34 individuals were arrested. Their charges include gambling, cruelty to animals, possession of a firearm during commission of a crime, theft by receiving stolen property, and any other crimes associated with this dog fighting operation.
Sheriff Smith stated that some of the individuals are local. Several others are from the states of Alabama, Arkansas, and Michigan. One of the offenders is wanted by the U.S. Marshals for a federal indictment related to dog fighting.
"I am saddened by what I saw at this crime scene; however, I am very proud of all these law enforcement officers that were involved. We know in the dog fighting world, these events carry the highest potential of being extremely dangerous. All officers displayed the highest level of professionalism while showing 'armed' force to minimize the risk of getting hurt or hurting others," said Sheriff Smith.
Agencies involved in the raid include: Meriwether County Deputies & Investigators, the Meriwether Narcotics unit, Woodbury Police, Greenville Police, DNR Rangers with the Department of Natural Resources, Spalding County Sheriff's Deputies, Coweta County Sheriff's Crime Suppression Unit, the Coweta County Sheriffs and Department of Natural Resources Aviation Units.
This case is still under investigation.