Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dog fighting ring discovered in Steele

STEELE, Mo. -- A six month investigation by the Steele Police Department and Caruthersville, Mo., Humane Society resulted in the discovery of a possible dog fighting ring at Steele.

On the morning of Friday, Jan. 16, officers with the Steele Police and Caruthersville Humane Society executed a search warrant at 504 Railroad Street in Steele which resulted in the seizure of five pit bulldogs, a large amount of cash, drug paraphernalia, and possible dog fighting paraphernalia.

According to Capt. Beverly Alexander of the Steele Police, authorities are still sifting through the evidence, including weights and break sticks. Alexander also said that there was a possible dog fighting pit in the area.

The suspects, who's names are being withheld pending the filing of formal charges, are part of an ongoing investigation involving animal neglect and abuse, as well as possible links to pit bull fighting.

The seized dogs are currently in the custody of the Humane Society pending a deposition hearing on Feb. 2.

Alexander noted that the investigation could be linked to the Oct. 2007 dog fighting ring in Stoddard County. In the Stoddard County case, Jamie Sifford, 29, of Dudley, Mo., was sentenced to three years on dog fighting charges.

The Steele Police and Caruthersville Humane Society were assisted by animal control officers from Caruthersville; Hayti, Mo.; and members of the Bootheel Drug Task Force.

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