Just days after busting a major dog fighting ring at a Mississippi home, the Panola County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that the rescued dogs are still under their care.
Deputies seized almost 30 dogs from the residence this past weekend, made arrests, and transported the canines to their property since there wasn’t an animal shelter nearby. WREG News now reports that the sheriff’s office, which hoped to have found a better place for the canines by now, is still housing the animals on their property.
Sheriff Shane Phelps explained the additional responsibility of caring for all the canines poses a challenge for them. This is mostly because of how time-demanding and resource-consuming the new responsibility is proving to be.
Moreover, they are worried about the future of these rescued animals, who deserve forever homes after the cruelty they endured.
“We’re feeding them…watering them…having to wash the crates out two or three times a day,” Phelps stated. He continued, “My hope is that we will be able to find somewhere to hold these dogs.” Phelps added, “Hopefully be able to adopt them out or something. That’s my wish.”
Rescued dogs likely stolen from owners
Phelps mentioned that since the successful crackdown on the Mississippi dog fighting ring aired on the news, many distraught pet owners whose dogs went missing have contacted their offices.
Most expressed concerns that their pets may have been stolen and used as bait for the dog fighting ring.
“We’ve had several people on Facebook [calling] the Sheriff’s Office here, saying their dog was stolen,” Phelps stated.
In the cruel sport of dog fighting, organizers train some dogs to fight. At the same time, they use other dogs — mostly stolen pets— as bait. The term “bait dog” simply refers to a canine who acts as “a punching bag” for the dog undergoing training to fight aggressively. Moreover, dogfighting organizers often use bait dogs as victims to show off the fighting dog’s prowess.
Heather Dees, a resident from Tippah County, Mississippi, was among the many pet owners who contacted WREG after hearing about the busted dog fighting ring. According to Dees, her dog, Lenny, went missing on Nov. 9.
“He is my baby. I’ve only had him a year. I got him [when] it was a really tough time, and I’m positive he’s the only reason I’m here today.” She continued, “That dog was my best friend. So I miss him a lot.”
Emphatically, Dees shared that the possibility Lenny may have been taken in as a bait dog haunts her. For this reason, she plans to head to the Panola County Sheriff’s Office to see whether Lenny is among the rescued dogs.
Sheriff Phelps is urging anyone who suspects their missing dog might be one of the rescued canines to visit their offices with a picture of their pet.