SOUTH CAROLINA (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Twenty arrests were made and 305 dogs were rescued over the weekend as part of a widespread dogfighting investigation in South Carolina, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina announced Monday.
Sixty federal and state law enforcement took part in the operation and nearly two dozen warrants were served, records show. The operation is believed to be the largest in the state’s history.
Three people were arrested in Rock Hill, including Kelvin Foster, who faces 30 charges for the ill-treatment of animals, authorities said.
Authorities confirmed his arrest is connected to the dogfighting operation found Sunday morning on Wildcat Creek Road, where 80 dogs were seized from adjoining properties.
People living nearby noted a heavy law enforcement presence and a large mobile kennel that was in place along the road over the weekend.
The Humane Society of the United States also shared footage and images of the animal seizures, noting that some of the dogs had eye infections, along with open wounds and broken bones.
“To force dogs to fight, often to the death, for the enjoyment of others is not only a federal crime, it is also cruel, sadistic, and can create a haven for other illicit activities involving drugs and firearms,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. “This joint operation, which has been months in the making, makes clear that dogfighting operations will find no refuge here in South Carolina.
Officials said 275 of the 305 dogs rescued were believed to have been involved in dogfighting, and 30 guns were also seized during the operations, as was $40,000 in cash.
The operation included York, Richland, Orangeburg, Clarendon, Lee, and Sumter counties.
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“Law enforcement often finds that guns, illicit drugs, human trafficking, and child abuse are involved with instances of animal abuse,” said SC Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel. “This operation was only a success because multiple agencies made up of dedicated professionals worked tirelessly for justice. Dog fighting is both inhumane and illegal – it will not be tolerated.”