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Saturday, Feb 26, 2005County: Escambia
» Stephen Riddle
» Daniel Eugene Brock - Convicted
» Sammy Ray Portwood
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
Forty five mangled hogs, many missing ears, at least one missing both, wait for a grim future after a tortured past. "Department of Agriculture has quarantined the animals and intends to draw blood from them and they will examine the animals and more than likely they'll be destroyed," Escambia County, Alabama Sheriff Grover Smith says. Smith says the hogs were bait in hog/dog rodeos that his office and state officials raided over the weekend.
At the raid in Escambia County, the sheriff says hogs were injured, one even killed. "We were told that a dog had torn his throat and that they had put the animal down by cutting his throat," said Smith. The raids in his county, he says, are the result of a year-long investigation. A major motivator the sheriff says was the risk of diseases spreading from the hogs. "These diseases are communicable, very highly contagious. So you put a dog in there, he bites em, you have blood to blood to the dog, and then the child pets the dog. The dogs get a cut or a bite mark on it from the hog and then you've got a child that has the disease," says Smith.
Authorities believe as many as 350 people attended the spectator event, which had a concession stand, bleachers, and trophies. Three people are charged with animal cruelty. They're thought to be the organizers of three different hog/dog operations. But the sheriff says more charges could come. He believes gambling was a factor, as well as underage drinking, drugs, weapons and illegal transport of animals. The sheriff says he'll consult with the Escambia County District Attorney and the state attorney general on what charges to pursue.
Attorney General Troy King took a hard line against the rodeos. "Young boys learn a lot from their dads and from men who take them hunting. I'm afraid the things we teach them from things like this are not lessons our children need to learn," said King.
Alabama's animal cruelty laws make no specific reference to hog/dog rodeos. Mississippi and South Carolina are already considering measures to outlaw hog/dog rodeos. Louisiana passed a law against them last year.
Saturday night's search warrant execution was the final phase of an investigation that began more than a year ago into the cruel treatment of hogs during these events, held at the "Double P Catch Pen" located behind the residence of Sammy Ray Portwood on Community Church Road, which is west of Flomaton off Old Atmore Road.
Portwood turned himself in to sheriff's investigators on Monday morning and was arrested for one count of Cruelty to Animals and was released on a $2,000 bond.
At the "Double P Catch Pen" events, spectators are charged an entry fee to watch individual matches where a hog is released into a pen and a dog is timed to see how long it takes for the dog to "catch" the hog.
|A Flomaton man was found guilty of animal cruelty regarding a hog/dog event that occurred in early March.|
On Friday, Judge Dave Jordan ordered Daniel Eugene Brock, 60, to be detained in the Escambia County Jail for a maximum of 48 hours, one year probation and to pay $55 in court costs.
Brock's sentencing came nearly a week after his trial. During that week, Judge Jordan reviewed nearly two hours of videotape of the event that was held in Flomaton. The video was taken by an undercover agent with the Department of Agriculture and Industries.
In March two other men, along with Brock, were charged with operating the sporting event in late February. Court dates have not been set for Sammy Ray Portwood, 36, or Stephen Riddle, 46.
After the event, agents recovered nearly 45 hogs that were being used for a hog/dog sporting event. Of the 45 hogs rescued, 10 of the hogs tested positive for pseudorabies and were buried in late-March.
The March arrests came after a nearly two-year investigation of the cruel treatment of hogs during the sporting events, which were held at the "Double P Catch Pen," located behind the residence of Portwood.
Portwood later turned himself into sheriff's investigators and was later released on a $2,000 bond.
At the event, spectators were charged an entry fee to watch individual matches where a hog is released into a pen and a dog is timed to see how long it takes for the dog to catch the hog.
There is currently a bill waiting to be passed in the legislation that would make the sporting event illegal to operate. Currently, the event is not illegal.
|Source: Brewton Herald - June 22, 2005|
Update posted on Jun 23, 2005 - 2:51PM
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