The world of pit bull fighting is difficult to infiltrate.
Morris Young, Gadsden County Sheriff, says, "It's very private. They do it in certain locations and the only way you can tell is if you hear the dogs barking and see the crowd going into a certain location."
Law enforcement officials aren't taking pit bull fighting lightly. In fact, they say they intend to seek the maximum penalty for those involved in the sport.
Humane Society officials are working diligently to put an end to the sport, helping write laws to protect the animals from the cruel sporting match.
Laura Bevans, the director of the Humane Society of the United States, says, "If we can prove to a judge, to a jury, that they have the animals for the purpose of fighting and baiting they can be convicted of a felony, so we're still working on those cases. We're working with law enforcements, encouraging to deal with those cases, understand how the law works, so were hoping a lot more is done in the future.”
The future for some of these dogs is bleak. The dogs that were removed from a home in Gadsden County were all euthanized. Animal Control officials say dogs who enjoy the sport of fighting are difficult to rehabilitate and pose a threat to humans and pets.
Vickey Steier, Animal Control Supervisor for the City of Tallahassee, says, "If they're a fighter they get euthanized. Unfortunately these dogs get severe behavioral problems that you cannot take it out of the dog, and so because of the seriousness of this, if they could injure other dogs they will be euthanized."
While the fate of the dogs is known, the fate of the man involved in the pit bull fighting ring in Gadsden County hangs in the balance.
William Randall, Sr. was arrested and charged with 19 counts of animal cruelty and 19 counts of fighting or baiting animals. This case has made headlines in our area. Law enforcement and Humane Society officials say they are now doubling efforts to curb the crime.
Laura Bevan says, “I don't know if we're going to eliminate it. It's going to go underground right now because it's so prevalent. It just has to be stopped."
Bevan says if this sport is not stopped more pit bulls will end up like these dogs, with its face ripped out and deep puncture wounds, a cruel punishment to man's best friend all in an effort for human profit.
Fighting or baiting dogs is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years for each count, but a judge will make a final decision whether it's concurrent or consecutive.
As of now, no court date has been set for William Randall, Sr. WCTV will be following the case and will keep you posted.