Smith County, TX (FOX 51) — Two Kansas men were arrested Friday by federal investigators for involvement in a multi-state dog fighting ring, including dog fights near Tyler.
Saturday, the Smith County Sheriff's Office was asked to help with the investigation by the FBI and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Pete Davis, Jr., 38, and Melvin Robinson, 41, both of Kansas City, Kansas, were charged with one count of buying, selling and delivering dogs for participation in an animal fighting ring.
The complaint says Davis and Robinson had as many as 60 dogs, mostly pit bulls, that they trained and took to dog fights. The dogs were kept at a farm in Harrison County, Missouri, and the suspects' homes in Kansas City. The animals were taken to fights as far away as Dallas.
An FBI investigation that began in November 2012, revealed Robinson placed harnesses on dogs and chained them to a treadmill for several hours at a time to train them. The treadmill was equipped with a plywood box to keep the dogs on the machine. Weights were also put on the dogs to strengthen them and there were caged live chickens in front of the treadmill as bait. During the probe, law enforcement discovered dogs were killed during training and fighting and their bodies were thrown away.
On Sunday, March 17, the suspects held three dog fights involving six dogs at the farm in Missouri to prepare for a fight in Dallas. Robinson and Davis planned on betting $20,000 to $30,000 on a dog they were training for the fight scheduled for March 23 .The fights are known as "dog shows."
"Dog fighting is not a sport, it's a crime," said U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom. "Federal law prohibits cruelty to animals on the level of the events that are alleged in these charges. In 2008, after the Michael Vick case, Congress increased the punishment for dog fighting. What was a misdemeanor is now a felony with punishment up to five years."
After the dogs were collected by authorities, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals agreed to house and care foot the animals.
Grissom thanked the following agencies for their work on the case: The FBI, the Kansas City, KS, Police Department, the Harrison County, Mo, Sheriff's Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Texas Department of Public Safety Narcotics and Highway Patrol, East Texas HIDTA, the FBI Dallas Division East Texas Resident Agencies, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Wardens, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice OIG, the Lindale Police Department, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office.