Deputies bust suspected dog fighting ring, make one arrest

23-year-old Stanley Taylor / RCSD

RICHLAND COUNTY (WACH) -- Richland County officials say they've broken up a dog fighting ring and made one arrest.

Deputies responded to a complaint of barking dogs at a home on Camp Ground Road around 6 p.m.

When officials arrived they noticed, what they say appeared to be, a dog fighting operation with several people involved.

We TMve had indications that this has been going on. We just didn TMt know exactly where it was at," explains Sheriff Leon Lott. "Last night, we received a call that identified it and led us to where we needed to be

When the suspects spotted deputies they fled, prompting the sheriff's department to bring out tracking dogs and a helicopter.

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As a result, 23-year-old Stanley Taylor was arrested. He has been charged with animal fighting or baiting. Other arrests may be coming as investigators search for the other suspects.

As of Monday morning, deputies say they have not made any additional arrests over the weekend.

The Richland County Sheriff's Department says they're continuing their investigation and animal control is still working to recover dogs.

It TMs terrible that people would put dogs like this for sport and for their enjoyment to watch dogs mutilate and kill each other and that TMs about as low as you can get," Sheriff Leon Lott says.

If you have any information that may help investigators, you're urged to call CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

Meantime, about 30 dogs that had to be moved out of the county's shelter to make room for the abused animals involved in the dog fighting are lucky to be alive today thanks to Pawmetto Lifeline.

If we had not taken the 31 dogs from one of our local shelters they would've died on Friday and what that means is we have to get in the mode of doing some very serious fundraising because we were not prepared to take those dogs, said Denise Wilkinson, CEO of Pawmetto Lifeline.

Wilkinson says the organization has to raise about $10,000 to help prepare the animals for adoption. If you would like to help by donating or adopting an animal, call Pawmetto Lifeline at (803) 407-0991.

Do you feel dog fighting is growing in South Carolina? Leave your comments below.