Case Snapshot
Case ID: 14348
Classification: Fighting, Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
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Friday, Aug 1, 2008

County: Rankin

Charges: Misdemeanor, Felony CTA
Disposition: Alleged

» Tommie Lee Harvey
» David Owens
» Jeffrey Lewis Johnson

Three Brandon men face felony charges for allegedly operating a backyard dogfighting ring.

Ten pit bulls were confiscated from the property last week and taken to animal control after police scoured heavily wooded property in north Brandon, where two of the suspects live.

On Wednesday, Tommie Lee Harvey, 18, and David Owens, 28, both of 199 Stringer Lane, and their neighbor, Jeffrey Lewis Johnson, 27, of 170 Caine Circle pleaded guilty to multiple counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty in Brandon City Court.

However, the men waived their felony hearings on the dogfighting charges to Rankin County Court, court records say.

The three were all booked into Rankin County Jail last week on one count of holding dogfights and 10 counts of animal cruelty.

Their bonds were set at $100,000.

Police learned about the Stringer Lane property during an unrelated traffic stop in late July. In that case, the suspect ran from police.

It was then, Brandon Police Chief Ken McBroom said, that officers noticed all the dogs.

"They got a bad feeling and decided to come back a few days later with animal control," he said.

When they did, officers found emaciated dogs being kept penned and chained without suitable food or water. They found syringes and healing creams for wounds.

And officers also found homemade fighting boxes and exercise equipment designed to strengthen a dog's jowls and neck, McBroom said. Two of the dogs were found chained alone in the woods.

At the scene was Owens, who allowed officers to walk around the premises. McBroom said Owens blamed his cousin, Harvey, for all the dogs and told officers the syringes were for penicillin.

After officers searched the entire residence, no penicillin could be located. Both Owens and Harvey were subsequently charged. A day later, Johnson surrendered to police.

McBroom said the fate of the dogs was undetermined. As of Wednesday, they remained in animal control custody.

"As far as dogfighting is concerned, this is the first case I've handled," McBroom said. "But it's really not that uncommon statewide. We just need to be clear that we won't tolerate this kind of stuff in Brandon."

McBroom said no other arrests are expected.


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