The Domino effect
Published 5:51 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2016
The catchy title, The Domino Effect, has been applied by folks at the Bainbridge-Decatur County Humane Society to one of the most serious cases of animal abuse the locals have seen in awhile.
Perhaps you have seen the stories and photos on Facebook, or the Wanted posters around town, asking for information leading to the identity of the person or persons responsible for the abuse of a dog that was brought in by Animal Control on September 20. He was found dumped at Jones Meats in Climax.
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Domino, as he was named by shelter workers, is believed to have been a victim of dog fighting.
Shelter Director Beth Eck said dog fighting is extremely prevalent in this area. “We’ve been dealing with it for years.” She said persons involved with dog fighting, dump the losers, especially if they are too damaged. She went on to explain that Domino was so swollen the first couple of days, and as the swelling went down you could see all the torn tissue. “Every day he looked worse and worse.” Beth said they considered euthanizing him, but he was so sweet and loving they just couldn’t do it.
Even though he was in great pain, he was gentle and showed a loving disposition, including wagging his tail as he was first greeted and petted.
The severity of his wounds necessitated his being sent to a rescue in South Carolina called Noah’s Ark, where it is possible for him to get the best treatment care available.
There are state laws prohibiting dog fighting, but it is hard to prove, according to Beth and Ashley White, shelter worker. White says, “We know who a lot of these people are; but it is hard to prove it.” She says the laws need to be improved. As an example, she cited if you are pulled over and found to have drugs or drug paraphernalia in your possession, you will be arrested and tried. They don’t have to see you using it. “But that doesn’t seem to work for animals. You have to actually see it happening.” It is their opinion that many people know what is going on but keep quiet because they know the people and there is a lot of money in the “sport.”
State of Georgia O.C.G.A. 16-12-37 states, (a) as used in this code section, the term “dog” means any domestic canine.
(b) Any person who (1) owns, possesses, trains, transports, or sells any dog with the intent that such dog shall be engaged in fighting with another dog: (2) for amusement or gain, causes any dog to fight with another dog or for amusement or gain, causes any dogs to injure each other. (4) wagers money or anything of value on the result of such dogfighting. (4) Knowingly permits any act in violation of paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection on any premises under the ownership or control of such person or knowingly aids or abets any such act;” and the wording continues regarding any person who “knowingly promotes or exhibits fighting with another dog shall be guilty of a felony and, upon the first conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than one, nor more than five years, with a fine of not less than $5,000 or both, such fine and imprisonment.” The wording continues to spell out how the punishment increases with subsequent convictions. There are also legal consequences for “any person who is knowingly present only as a spectator at any place for the fighting of dogs, shall upon a first conviction thereof, be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.” The punishment also increases with subsequent arrests.
It is the hope of the local Humane Society that the story of Domino will have a positive effect by raising an awareness of the public on the dog fighting being carried out in our community. It should be an incentive for upholding the laws that exist, as well as looking to changing and strengthening those that need to be. That is why they call it the Domino Effect.
An anonymous donor has made available local award money up to $5,000 to be offered for the arrest and successful prosecution of those responsible for Domino’s condition.
All tips will remain confidential. Those with information may call Beth Eck or Ashley White at 229-246-0101 or contact investigator Jason Williams with the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office, 229-248-3044 or 229-400-8016.