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29 Dogs Rescued From Mississippi Dog Fighting Ring


At least 29 dogs were rescued from a dog fighting ring this past Saturday at a home in Como, Mississippi, WREG News reports. 

The Panola County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 hang-up call on Dec. 2, shortly after 7 p.m., about an ongoing dog fight at the residence. Deputies who arrived at the scene first before calling for backup spotted a large crowd witnessing a dog fighting event. According to the sheriff’s office, the crowd dispersed upon sighting authorities. A majority of the cars driving away were registered in other states or counties. 

Police confiscated 13 vehicles abandoned at the scene. All were believed to be owned by people who were participants in the dog fighting ring. Moreover, in addition to rescuing the 29 canines, deputies also seized dog fighting equipment from the site.

Authorities identified the residence’s owner to be 37-year-old Damien Jay Smoot. He was arrested and has since been charged with running a dog-fighting operation.  

Condition of 29 rescued dogs  

While speaking to Fox13 Memphis, Panola County sheriff Shane Phelps described the dogs’ condition as “horrible.” Although the canines seemed to be in different stages of health during the rescue, they all appeared skinny. Many also had scars inflicted from previous fights. 

“People that are doing this to these dogs need to be in jail,” Phelps said in a statement. 

Dogfighting, a sport where canines bred for aggression are forced to fight each other for the monetary gain and entertainment of organizers and spectators, is considered one of the most gruesome forms of animal cruelty. It is a felony offense in every state, as per the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT), which was signed into law in 2019. 

Currently, the Panola County Sheriff’s Office is housing all the rescued dogs on their property since there isn’t an animal shelter nearby. Authorities said they are in touch with relevant entities to ensure the canines receive the best possible treatment and care.

Investigations into the case are still ongoing. At this time, the sheriff’s office expects to make more arrests surrounding the Mississippi dog fighting ring.


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