Massive raid should lead to a significant reduction in dog fighting in SC. What more can be done?




  • In US
  • 2022-09-26 17:31:43Z
  • By The State
 

A massive raid that broke up what investigators described as a dogfighting operation shows that such a barbaric practice can be happening in our own metaphoric backyard, and we might not know it.

As reported by The State's John Monk and Noah Feit, the raid rescued 305 dogs, of which 275 were believed to be associated with dogfighting, according to investigators. The raid began Saturday night after officers broke up a dog fight in Richland County.

In my time as a crime reporter, I realized how pervasive dogfighting and animal cruelty are in South Carolina. I often said the two were crimes that stood out in the Palmetto State.

Richland County is the second most populated in South Carolina and, with its sheriff's department, has one the most robust police forces in the state. But even here, those who fight dogs see the county as a suitable venue for their blood sport. That's not to say the department isn't focused on the issue, but to point out the prominence of a sinister crime.

The Saturday raid led law enforcement officers to search 23 properties in Richland, York, Orangeburg, Clarendon, Lee, and Sumter counties suspected of being dogfighting kennels or associated with dogfighting, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

With the extent of the bust, South Carolinians now know that they might very well be near dogfighting or its sources.

South Carolina citizens should be vigilant to report suspicions of dogfighting and authorities should be quick to offer ways for tipsters to report the crime without fear of repercussions.

While the existence of a seemingly large dogfighting operation may lead to the belief that such cruelty is more casually accepted in the state, no doubt the vast majority of people find this practice shameful and disgusting. So in addition to reporting, how can South Carolinians help?

The answer early childhood education.

For decades, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott has been an advocate for teaching children to stay away from violence. Organizations that advocate for the prevention of violent crimes have done the same.

Teaching children to stay away from and abhor violence should also apply to dogfighting. This raid hopefully leads to more schools and youth services understanding the need for animal education programs.

With hundreds of dogs rescued, another issue looms. How are those animals cared for?

Feit and Monk reported that the dogs have been put in the care of the Humane Society of the United States and Bark Nation. South Carolinians can consider donating to these organizations.

Plenty of Midlands and statewide organizations also shelter animals and advocate for their protection. This raid should inspire people to support those organizations too.

One thing South Carolinians can't do, however, is say:That's not happening in my backyard.

Anyone with information on dogfighting in South Carolina can call 800-424-9121.

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