06 June 2011

Grand Jury charges Ohio man with felony dogfighting

An Ohio man has been charged with three counts of felony dogfighting by a grand jury, thanks to a nine month long joint investigation involving the Jefferson County Humane Society and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

The case against the man, Sherman Bell of Bloomingdale, was made possible due to a unique Ohio law provision, which according to HSUS “allows local humane societies to bring criminal charges directly against animal abusers.” This was the first dogfighting case in which the provision was utilized.

“The Grand Jury’s indictment of Bell marks the culmination of an extensive investigative and legal effort by HSUS, undertaken in partnership with the Jefferson County Humane Society,” said Chris Schindler, manager of animal fighting investigations for HSUS. “Our priority is to rescue animals from this cruel bloodsport, but The HSUS also works tirelessly to ensure that those that engage in animal fighting are held legally accountable."

A 2010 dogfighting raid conducted by the Jefferson County Humane Society and the HSUS Animal Rescue Team on Bell’s property yielded dogfighting paraphernalia along with a myriad of 500 mistreated animals. In total 200 dogs along with 300 other creatures including chickens, reptiles, boars and tropical birds were seized, all of which were in poor condition.

Not surprisingly the animals were initially discovered by local officials while carrying out a warrant on Bell for drug and weapons charges.

HSUS states that more than 150 dogs from the operation were placed with shelters from around the country.

Eric Fortney | @elfortney | email
Eric is the co-founder and executive editor of the animal rights and eco-friendly news source, This Dish Is Veg. In addition to his work at TDIV, Eric is a father of three, runner, and lover of the outdoors.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/fabliaux