More Dogfighters in Columbia County
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News.
A Columbia County man turned himself in yesterday after sheriff's deputies found seven dogs with injuries consistent with dog-fighting at his home.
It's the second case in two months for Sheriff Bill Gootee. It's the only two cases for the Sheriff since he took office in 2004. But he hopes other county residents aren't intimidated to step forward.
"Gina" is one of the lucky ones. Although the pit bull's front leg was ripped off by another dog, she's found a happy home with Nicky Rogers. Not too long ago, she was living across the street at the home of Alexander Farnsworth. Rogers can't believe her neighbor was charged with dog-fighting crimes.
"He was always nice to me," says Rogers. "Every time he drove by, he always waved and everything. He talked to my sister all the time."
Sheriff's deputies were notified about two weeks ago when a pit bull with dog-fighting injuries was found in the neighborhood.
"I think it's just people are more aware of it now," says Columbia County Sheriff Bill Gootee. "It probably has been a problem before, just public awareness with the Michael Vick thing."
Farnsworth had two no trespassing signs on the gate to his property for good reason. When sheriff's deputies came with the search warrant, they found one dead dog and seven live ones with injuries consistent with dogfighting.
The seven recovered dogs are being housed at an undisclosed location, some with injuries on their front legs and muzzle.
"It's cruel," says Gootee. "Animals are pets and should be treated as such. There are a lot of people that love their animals. They are like family to them and this to them is inhumane."
Gina has quickly become part of Rogers' family.
"She's never nipped at them, bit them or anything," says Rogers. "She's a lovable dog. I don't see how anybody can fight a dog like that. Absolutely no way."
Sheriff's deputies aren't sure where Farnsworth was between the time they searched his property February 11th and yesterday when he turned himself in. He is facing charges for fighting animals, animal cruelty and for threatening a neighbor on one occasion more than two weeks ago. He's out of jail on a 45-thousand dollar bond.
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