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Florence dog fight investigation still underway

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Benjamin Harrison

Daniel Parks

Rodney Cooper

Brandon Williams

Harold Small

George McCall

Edward Windham

Walter Taylor

Posted: Monday, October 14, 2013 6:26 pm

FLORENCE, S.C. – A young pit bull recovered this weekend from a dog fighting ring was being treated Monday for injuries, as Florence County Sheriff’s deputies continued their investigation into the matter.

The pit bull, which officials estimate to be 18 months to 2 years in age, is on a 15-day standard hold at Florence County Environmental Services, but was taken to a veterinarian Monday to be treated for some injuries including a possible broken leg.

“It has some facial lacerations and some lacerations to the neck, and its right leg is possibly broken,” Herbie Christmas, of Florence County Environmental Services, said. “We don’t have the money to provide vet care for every stray, but because of the circumstances in this case, we did take the dog to a veterinarian to be evaluated and treated if needed.”

Christmas said the dog has been friendly to him and his staff and has shown no signs of aggression.

“I saw him at 6 a.m. this morning. He was wagging his tail and even came to the fence and licked my hand,” Christmas said. “But actually, animals that are bred to fight don’t usually show aggression toward humans, because their handlers have to get in the ring with them. So if they show aggression toward the handlers, they usually don’t make the cut (to fight). They’re trained to be aggressive to other animals, not humans.”

Christmas said there is no plan for the dog’s future at this point. He said he’ll have to talk with Florence County Sheriff’s investigators before anything is decided.

The pit bill was confiscated during a sheriff’s office raid on a dog fight about 6 p.m. Saturday at a vacant lot on Heyward Road. A fight was getting ready to take place at the temporary fighting ring there, but when deputies arrived, the suspects ran. Eight men were caught in nearby woods and fields and taken into custody, Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Nunn said.

A second dog found at the scene got away.

Four vehicles, three firearms, a quantity of powder cocaine, marijuana and an undisclosed amount of cash were seized during the bust.

Charged with violating the Animal Fighting and Baiting Act were Benjamin Harrison, 38; Daniel Parks, 34; George McCall, 36; Harold Small, 35; Brandon Williams, 32; Rodney Cooper, 33; Edward Windham, 32; and Walter Taylor, 59, all of Florence County.

Search warrants connected to the incident are being sought, Nunn said, and additional charges and arrests are possible.

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