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January 11, 2011

The HSUS Assists Calhoun County Law Enforcement in Dogfighting Investigation

Case marks first felony dogfighting arrest in West Virginia

The Humane Society of the United States worked closely with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department in the investigation and arrest of an alleged dogfighter. This is the first dogfighting arrest in West Virginia since the state statute was changed in 2003 to list dogfighting as a felony offense.

Dwayne Smith was arrested for his alleged involvement in a dogfighting operation discovered in Arnoldsburg in December. Local law enforcement called The HSUS to help after they discovered 19 dogs chained and emaciated behind a house where the owner had been dead for weeks.

“It was very clear that the now deceased owner of these dogs had longtime ties to organized dogfighting and Smith was his partner in the dogfighting operation,” said Chris Schindler, manager of animal fighting law enforcement for The HSUS. “The dogs we found were suffering in the bitter cold and bore the scars indicating they were the abused victims of dogfighting. We commend the Calhoun County Sherriff’s department for taking swift action in this case.”

The HSUS, along with Jo Staats from West Virginia Pit Bull Haven, found many of the dogs had scarring consistent with fighting. Other evidence of dogfighting such as conditioning equipment, a trailer converted into a dogfighting pit, blood spatter on the walls and blood on the carpet were also found on the property.

Dogfighting Facts:

  • The HSUS offers rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person involved in illegal animal fighting. The HSUS asks anyone with information about animal fighting criminals to call 877-TIP-HSUS (877-847-4787). Tipsters' identities are protected.
  • Dogfighting is a felony in all 50 states.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org

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