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All Bets Off For Jackson County Dog Fighting Ring

Authorities in Jackson County say they've broken up an apparent dog fighting ring in St. Martin. Sheriff's Deputies say the fighting was wrapping up when they arrived on the scene at Sheffield Road in St Martin. They say when they searched the property, they found 13 pit bulls bound by chains.

The alleged ring leader, Jessie Richard Williams, now faces felony charges.

"This wasn't your typical dog fighting case. Most of the time they're not that injured," Lieutenant Ken McClenic with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department said.

When Lt. McClenic pulled up to the home Monday, he couldn't believe what he saw.
"To actually see a dog that can't stand up on his own and to see another dog with blood dripping from his face. It was a pretty traumatic situation," Lt. McClenic says.

Police arrested Jessie Richard Williams, 29, on a felony charge for dog fighting, and misdemeanor for animal cruelty. He's also charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

"He said he's had this type of encounter with law enforcement before with reference to the dogs, so I don't know if he moved into this area just to fight the dogs," Lt. McClenic

Lt. McClenic says dog fighters often use heavy shackles to attach to dog's collars. But that's not the only form of animal cruelty that police say was going on at William's home.

"They get them down to a starving condition because it makes them more aggressive, it makes them want to fight," Lt. McClenic says.

One dog has already been operated on by vets at Bienville Animal Clinic. Dr. Michael Dill says considering the circumstances, the dog is recovering.

"After being on the IV fluids and having his wounds cleaned up and some drains put in, he's 100 percent better than he was yesterday," Bienville Animal Clinic veterinarian Dr. Dill says.

The 12 other dogs are being kept at the Jackson County Animal Shelter. Their faces tell the story of the fights they've already endured in their short lives.

"Most dogs want to do things with us and for us. When we capitalize on more of their basic instincts to fight and to do things, I mean, it's sad," Dr. Dill says.

Williams was released Tuesday on a total bond of $2,500. Lt. McClenic says Williams will appear in court on January 8th for his misdemeanor charges, and the felony case will be sent to a grand jury.


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