A North Carolina man pleaded guilty to federal dog fighting and conspiracy charges yesterday, announced United States Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin and Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
Brexton Redell Lloyd, 54, of Eagle Springs, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy and two felony counts of possession and training a dog intended for use in an animal fighting venture, contrary to the animal fighting provisions of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Each count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to documents filed with the court, Lloyd participated with Justin “Jay” Love and others in a multi-state dog fighting conspiracy. These documents describe Lloyd and Love’s attempt to set up a dog fight between Lloyd and an unknown opponent in October 2015 and Lloyd’s breeding and training activities. Court documents further note that earlier this year, agents seized thirteen pit bull-type dogs from Lloyd’s residence. Ten of the dogs were secured outdoors by excessive chains, wearing thick collars, and positioned so that each dog was out of reach of any other dog. The other dogs were housed individually in pens. The water in the dogs’ bowls was frozen. Two of the four adult dogs seized exhibited scars consistent with dog fighting, and a third adult dog had four fractured teeth. In addition to the dogs, agents seized items related to training dogs for dog fighting purposes, including: a spring pole, a dog harness, and a hanging scale. Agents also seized veterinary supplies, including: intravenous fluids, intravenous administration sets stated for “Veterinary Use Only,” injectable and other antibiotics, a 100-count package of syringes, blood clotting medications such as Blood Stop Powder, and a skin stapler.
“Organized crime has no place in North Carolina or the United States – and dog fighting of this sort is nothing short of organized crime. Our law enforcement partners at the Department of Agriculture, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Moore County Sheriff’s Office, and the N.C. State Highway Patrol demonstrated exceptional coordination in bringing this defendant to justice,” said United States Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin for the Middle District of North Carolina.
“Yesterday’s guilty plea and our continuing efforts to investigate and prosecute these cases send a strong message that our justice system will not tolerate the torment and death of animals in the fighting ring, all for the sake of illegal gambling,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General. “Federal law is clear on this point and will continue to be enforced.”
“The provisions of the Animal Welfare Act were designed to protect animals from being used in illegal fighting ventures, which often entail other forms of criminal activity involving drugs, firearms and gambling,” said Special Agent in Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins for U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General. “Together with the Department of Justice, animal fighting is an investigative priority for USDA OIG, and we will work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and assist in the criminal prosecution of those who participate in animal fighting ventures.”
This case is part of Operation Grand Champion, a coordinated effort across numerous federal judicial districts to combat organized dog fighting. The phrase “Grand Champion” is used by dog fighters to refer to a dog with more than five dog fighting “victories.” To date, over one hundred dogs have been rescued as part of Operation Grand Champion, and either surrendered or forfeited to the government. The Humane Society of the United States assisted with the care of the dogs seized by federal law enforcement.
This case was investigated by USDA-OIG and FBI, with assistance from the Moore County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina Highway Patrol, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney JoAnna G. McFadden and Trial Attorney Erica H. Pencak of the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section Environmental Crimes Section.