The investigation continues into an alleged Richmond Hill dog fight that led to the death of a pitbull earlier this month.
Bryan County Sheriff’s Department Det. Melvin Sands, who originally investigated the incident, returned last week to the site where the dog fight supposedly happened.
"I did go and talk to some people out in the Dixie area, and found out the names of the people involved," Sands said. "I’ve been unable to locate the participants at this time, but I’m trying to contact them."
"Also, I did find out the dog’s name was Red. He was a neighborhood dog (on Scriven Road) that apparently got passed around from one house to another. At the time of the dog fight, Red was kind of residing at that particular house," he said.
Witnesses reportedly told Sands on July 6 their pitbull had been stolen and taken out to a pond on Dixie Road, where the animal was made to fight with another pitbull.
According to the initial incident report, the suspects returned to the residence after the fight, pulled the dog "out of the trunk of a black Mercedes, threw him on the ground, cut off both ears, and tossed water on the animal to try and get the animal to wake up," the report said.
Animal Control was called to the scene and took the dog to be euthanized due to the extent of its injuries.
Sands has been unable to get in touch with the family again. The Scriven Road residents who filed the report were told how to get criminal warrants, but Sands said they haven’t.
The local incident coincided with the federal indictment of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. The case has shed national attention on dog fighting.
Vick was indicted July 17 on charges of competitive dog fighting, procuring and training pitbulls for fighting and conducting the enterprise across state lines.
If convicted, Vick and the others – Purnell Peace, Quanis Phillips and Tony Taylor – could face up to six years in prison, $350,000 in fines and restitution. They are scheduled to have a bond hearing and arraignment Thursday.
The Vick case could give "new life to efforts to shut down dog fighting in Georgia," Ga. House Majority Leader Jerry Keen (R-St. Simons Island) told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on July 19.
Senate Bill 16 passed unanimously in March. Known as the "Dog Fighting Act," the bill said "the fighting of dogs against dogs in this state … is a cruel and unacceptable practice."
While the General Assembly supports "legitimate sporting exhibitions" for dogs, such as hunting or field trials, they have declared that "the most effective, economical, humane, and ethical solution to the problem of dog fighting is to punish such conduct as a criminal act," the bill said.
In the meantime, Sands said it’s hard to say whether dog fighting in Bryan County is becoming an issue.
"I wouldn’t say dog fighting is an actual problem," he said. "I would say that it does occur. If it’s a problem for this area, I couldn’t actually say, because it’s so hush-hush."
Bryan County Sheriff Smith could not be reached for comment.