U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore announced today that Arthur Lee Clark, age 41, of Sumner, Georgia; Demitri Jackson, age 37; Tedrick Jackson, age 38; William Burns, age 41; Otha Hopkins, age 47, all of Albany, Georgia; Timothy Hopkins, age 41, of Hiram, Georgia; and Michael Bass, age 40, of Ashburn, Georgia were indicted for one count of conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture and three counts of sponsoring and exhibiting a dog in an animal fighting venture.
According to the indictment, the defendants operated a dogfight gambling enterprise, named “229 Boys Kennels, Inc.”, from about April 2006 to April 2010 in Albany, Georgia. The defendants produced, promoted and participated in dogfight gambling shows throughout the Southeast, including other parts of Georgia and Florida. The defendants bred, purchased, sold, and trained American Pit Bull Terriers for the purposes of dogfight gambling. The dogs were bred with dogs owned by, purchased from, and sold to individuals from other parts of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina.
The indictment further alleges that “229 Boys Kennels, Inc.” advertised and promoted the prowess of “229 Boys Kennels, Inc.” canine stock through online websites and publications and word of mouth to increase the value of “229 Boys Kennels, Inc.” stock for sale and to increase prize amounts for matches at dogfight gambling shows. Dogs not selected to continue fighting in “229 Boys Kennels, Inc.” were exterminated by bludgeoning them in the head with a hammer, slamming them on the ground until dead, and by other inhumane methods.
On April 30, 2014, all seven individuals were arrested through the cooperative effort of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Sylvester and Americus Field Offices; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General; U.S. Marshals Service; and Albany Police Department. A search warrant executed on the day of the arrests yielded 42 American Pit Bull Terriers being used for the purposes of dogfight gambling.
If convicted, the seven individuals face a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000, or both.
An indictment is only an allegation and the accused are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The indictment was the result of a four-year investigation conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Sylvester; U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General; and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia C. Bowen is prosecuting the case for the Government.