Dogs rescued in undercover investigation
Late last week, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance and coordination from the Humane Society of the United States and Jefferson County Animal Control Officers, executed a search warrant at 4190 Bowers Road, Kearneysville, for the house, outbuildings and yard. The search warrant was executed without incident.
The warrant was to collect evidence based on a long running undercover investigation that led law enforcement to find the site was used to breed, fight and sell pit bulls. As part of this investigation, an Undercover Agent purchased a pit bull, at that location, knowing the purchaser intended to use the pitbull for dog fighting.
The owner of the property, Steve Jennings, responded to questions and cooperated with Sheriff’s Deputies and Humane Society Staff in identifying the more than 20 dogs on site. Dr. N.L. Wilt, a local veterinarian, examined all the dogs.
More than 60 items of evidence including fighting pit, cell phones, breeding stations, collars, weights, chains, and documents that including pedigree ledgers, were seized along with 21 pitbulls of varying ages and conditions. At least 14 of these were found to have injuries or scars consistent with dog fighting. Now that they have been removed, the dogs will be well cared for in a safe and secure facility where they will be treated for any injuries or illnesses.
Janette Reever, deputy manager of animal fighting response for HSUS said, “The suffering has come to an end for these dogs who have spent their lives tied to heavy chains or fighting for their lives. Dogfighting is a serious crime that harms not only the dogs involved, but also the community at large. We are grateful to the Jefferson County authorities for being so pro-active and dedicated in their efforts to root out this illegal bloodsport.”
Jefferson County Sheriff Pete Dougherty, who participated in the search, commended the patience and dedication of all involved. “This effort is the culmination of lots of work by the Humane Society and the Sheriff’s Office. The assistance of all helped to end this cycle of animal cruelty.”
Jennings was charged with 14 felony counts of animal fighting (WV State Code 61-8-19A).