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Saturday, Nov 15, 2008County: Wayne
Charges: Felony CTA
» Mitchell Wayne Beasley
» Lindy Louise Andrews
» Tommy Lee Barley
» David Allen Wells
» Ronnie Lee Parker
» Donnie Eugene Parker
» Virginia Gayle Clifton
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
A tip to police led law enforcement to break up a large dog fighting operation in Wayne County, Tenn., authorities said.
Wayne County Sheriff Ric Wilson said that Saturday, between 8:30-9 p.m., officers from the sheriff's department and the Waynesboro Police Department raided a dog fighting operation off of Rasberry Hollow Road, which is north of Waynesboro, off Tennessee 13.
Wilson said a Wayne County man and his live-in girlfriend were among six people officially arrested on felony charges of dog fighting Sunday morning after the raid was conducted at their residence.
The sheriff said in all 18 people, ranging in age from 13 to 70, were taken into custody. He said 12 were charged with misdemeanor offenses.
Wilson said with the exception of two suspects, everyone taken into custody was from McNary County, White Creek, Hardin County, Giles County, Nashville and Chattanooga.
"They were from everywhere except Wayne County," he said.
The sheriff said 27 dogs, all pit bulls, including five puppies, were turned over to the Humane Society.
"It was one of the worst scenes I've ever seen," the sheriff said. "One of the dogs had an eye gone, one had his leg chewed very badly and everyone of them, with the exception of the puppies, had numerous bites and cuts all over their body. Some had very large gashes on the bodies. It was a sickening sight."
Wilson said Mitchell Wayne Beasley, 43, and his girlfriend, 42-year-old Lindy Louise Andrews, were each charged with 22 counts of aggravated animal cruelty and 22 counts of dog fighting.
Those also charged with felony dog fighting include Tommy Lee Barley, 28, 3004 Pope Drive, Chattanooga, Tenn.; David Allen Wells, no age available, 897 Airport Road, Selmer, Tenn.; and twin brothers Ronnie Lee Parker, 35, 5508 Pine Long Ave., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Donnie Eugene Parker, 35, 5500 Pine Long Ave., Chattanooga, Tenn., authorities said. They are all being held in the Wayne County Jail on bail totaling $1,500 each.
Two juveniles under age 15 were detained. One lives at the residence and the other came with his father, who was arrested on felony charges.
Authorities said when officers raided the operation, fresh blood was found in the fight pit and there was plenty of evidence that a fight had just concluded.
Besides the dogs, officers found $10,000 in cash and the book "Cajun Rules For Dog Fighting."
"We had been watching the area since Friday afternoon, after the police department received the tip that a large dog fight was going to take place this weekend," Wilson said. "Saturday night, after seeing a large number of vehicles arrive, we decided it was time to go in."
The sheriff said when officers raided the facility, which was outside just behind Beasley's house, four people ran into a nearby wooded area.
"We had to go get one out of a gully where he slipped and fell down into this morning," the sheriff said. "He was yelling for help. Apparently, when he fell, he broke his arm."
Wilson said another came out of the woods just after dawn after a cold, damp night. "I think he was about to freeze to death, so he came on out and gave up so he could get warm," he said.
A third suspect walked into the sheriff's office in Waynesboro on Sunday afternoon after he had spent the night in the woods.
"He looked like he had been sacking cats. He had scratches all over him from where he had been in the woods and brushes hiding," the sheriff said. He said one suspect is still on the run.
Investigators spent Sunday at the residence taking statements and confiscating evidence.
He said the fighting pit was about 30 feet from the house. It was described as poles with tarps covering the top.
Wilson said when questioned about the dog fighting operation, Beasley and Andrews denied knowledge.
"It was so close to his house that he could walk outside, spit and hit the pit, but (Beasley) said he didn't know where the pit came from," Wilson said.
He said Andrews' explanation of what was going on was almost comical.
"She said she didn't know a thing about the dog fights, she was just having a cookout and friends coming over," Wilson said. The sheriff said evidence of where the dogs had been kept was scattered all over the area. Several 55-gallon barrels, with straw inside for bedding, were being used as dog houses.
"The dogs were chained near the barrels with chains that were attached to metal rods that had been drove into the ground," he said. "It wasn't an elaborate operation, but it was evident that it had been going on for some time.
"It was a very pitiful sight, looking at these animals, seeing how they were being treated and what they were being put through."
The case remains under investigation and more charges could be pending.
|The man and woman who own the property where law enforcement broke up a large dog-fighting operation Sunday have been ordered to put up money to take care of the dogs that were confiscated.|
Wayne County Sheriff Ric Wilson said that during their initial court appearance, Mitchell Beasley, 43, and his live-in girlfriend, Lindy Louise Andrews, 43, were ordered to put up the bond money for the care of the animals.
"They have 10 days to get the bond money up," Wilson said.
The sheriff said bonds were also established at $25,000 cash each or $75,000 property each.
"If they do get out, they can't go back to the property until we get the dogs properly cared for," Wilson said.
He said a deputy has been staying at the property with the animals since they were confiscated Saturday night.
Beasley and Andrews were each charged with 22 counts of aggravated animal cruelty and 22 counts of dog fighting.
The sheriff's office and Waynesboro police raided the residence Saturday night. They found 27 pit bulldogs, five of which were puppies.
Wilson said all of the dogs had scars from when they had been fought.
On Monday evening, while searching the residence off Rasberry Hollow Road, north of Waynesboro, Wilson said authorities found evidence where dogs had been killed and buried.
Wilson said deputies found a dog wrapped and frozen inside a chest freezer in the house.
"There were deer parts inside the freezer - at first we thought this carcass was deer until we saw the dog collar still on the animal," Wilson said.
Authorities said that outside the residence deputies found a bag of bones inside a burn barrel, scattered bones and evidence where dead animals had been buried.
"There were spots where they had put lime on the soil trying to cover up the areas where the dogs had been buried," Wilson said. "To be honest, it was an awful sight, just gruesome."
Wilson said that while the investigation continues, the immediate need is to place the confiscated dogs. He said plans are to talk with the Humane Society to take charge of the animals.
"We hope that each one can be saved. At one time, there is no doubt they were beautiful animals," Wilson said. "It's just sickening to think about what has happened to them and what they have been through."
|Source: TimesDaily.com - Nov 19, 2008|
Update posted on Dec 4, 2008 - 5:49PM
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