Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Herman Edward Adams (3) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Latisha Adidi (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Teresa Allen (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  

Jay Andrews, 37 (2,5)

aka Jay Gould Andrews, III

school teacher charged with dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  Weaver, TX
Sterling Honoray Bates, 35 (2,3) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Robert Beasley (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Jeremy Bryant Booker (2) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Edwin Bradley (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Rudy Cantrelle (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Terrence Casey (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Michael Ceaser (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Patrick Charbonneau (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Cedric Cleveland (3) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Urias Contreras (3) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Christopher Cooper (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Jason Duncker(5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Darrick Ford (1,3) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Fredrick Ford (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Stanley Foster (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
George Franklin (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Joseph Allen Green, Jr. (3) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Pierre Hamilton (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Eugene Hickman (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Ellis Wayne Island Jr., 45 (2,5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  Channelview, TX

Masud Jahi(5)

aka Masud Jahi Morrow, Jahi Masud Morrow

dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Harold Jeffery, 36 (2,5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  Hockley, TX
Terrence Jenkins (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Charles Johnson (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Troy Lee (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Bridgett Massey (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Lorenzo Moore (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Jerrick Mosley (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Ronald Munerlyn, 49 (3) (see also 2007 conviction) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Pershing Powell (2,3) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Albert Ramirez (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Alfred Ramirez, 35 dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
George Ramirez (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Jermaine Rice (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Kevin James Rogers, 28 (2) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  Victoria, TX
Robert Lee Rogers, 38 (2,3) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
James Davinci Ross (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
DeCarlo Scott (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Roderick Spencer (2,3) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Benjamin C. Stanforth, 30 (2) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
William Marquis Stanforth, 31 (2,3) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  Channelview, TX
Jonathan Starling (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
James Turner (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Kenneth Walker (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Donnie Watson (2,3) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Phil White (5) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Gregory Wilson dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Donald Wayne Woods, 41 (2,3)) dogfighting - 187 dogs, 1 horse, snakes seized

Houston, TX

Harris County

November 14, 2008  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date /Courthouse
(1) Misdemeanor (2)Felony illegal gambling, drugs, weapons, theft, forgery 187 pitbull terrier dogs, 1 horse, several snakes

(3)Convicted

(4)Alleged

(5)Dismissed

 

  Photo courtesy of KHOU-TV Authorities broke up what they called one of the largest dogfighting rings in the country, arresting eight people -- including a school teacher -- filing charges against four dozen more and seizing 187 dogs.

"A lot of people in Texas still believe that dogfighting is entertainment," Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Lisa Block said. "We are here to tell you it is not entertainment. It is a crime."

The ring spanned five counties -- Matagorda, Tyler, Jasper, Montgomery and Harris -- and involved dogfights with as many as 100 spectators at a time who bet on the contests, officials said.

  Photo courtesy of the Houston Chronicle, photo's of rescued dogs cover the door of the Harris County ADA Belinda Smith  DPS officials and prosecutors would not describe the ring in detail because they said they were still looking for about 43 suspects. All, including the eight arrested, were charged with engaging in dogfighting, a felony.

Drug and gambling-related charges are pending, said Harris County Assistant District Attorney Belinda Smith.

Among those arrested was Jay Andrews, 37, a teacher in the Aldine Independent School District in Houston.

Andrews has taught English at an alternative school for four years and was arrested at the school, said district spokeswoman Leticia Fehling. He will be reassigned to duties outside the classroom until the criminal investigation is over, she said.

The eight people arrested -- after a 17-month investigation -- were ringleaders, involved in some of the more "egregious" fights or were also involved in drug activity, Smith said.

Smith said most of the dogs were pitbull terriers or mutts that were part pitbulls. They were bred specifically for dogfighting by several owners. Many of the 187 dogs seized in three counties were injured.

  Photo courtesy of KHOU-TV  Block said veterinarians were examining the dogs and that a judge would decide their fate.

Authorities said they have not completely shut down the operation because they're still searching for other suspects, but Smith called the arrests a "death blow" to the ring.

Block said authorities called it one of the nation's largest dogfighting rings based on the number of people involved, the number of spectators and the value of the bets placed.

The seven other men arrested were being held in the Harris County Jail.

The results of a 17-month investigation into alleged dogfighting in Harris County:

55 .. The number of people charged

41 .. Felony charges brought

45 .. Misdemeanor charges filed

1 YEAR IN JAIL, $4,000 FINE: The maximum punishment for being a spectator at a dogfight

187 dogs, 1 horse, several snakes, firearms, drugs seized

Charges range from weapons, drugs, theft & stolen property.

Suspects arrested in the dogfighting bust:

- Donald Wayne Woods, 41, two felony charges of dogfighting

- Jay Andrews, 37, of the 4400 block of Weaver, one felony charge of dogfighting

- Ellis Wayne Island Jr., 45, of Channelview, three felony charges of dogfighting

- Kevin James Rogers, 28, of the 14400 block of Victoria, two felony charges of dogfighting

- Robert Lee Rogers, 38, of the 14200 block of Garber, two felony charges of dogfighting

- William Marquis Stanforth, 31, of Channelview, three felony charges of dogfighting

- Benjamin C. Stanforth, 30, of the 6000 block of Milwee, two felony charges of dogfighting

- Harold Jeffery, 36, of Hockley, one felony charge of dogfighting

Update 11/15/08:  Details emerging from the investigation into one of the largest dogfighting rings in the country indicate an elaborate underground web involving dozens of people, including some from Latin America.

Authorities already have seized 187 animals from Harris, Montgomery and Tyler counties connected to the operation. As many as 100 people attended the fights, placing bets as high as $1,000 for a single match.

Detailed records kept by those involved should help authorities prosecute the eight people arrested and the 47 other suspects who have been indicted, but not yet arrested.

Charges related to weapons, drugs, theft and stolen property found during the raid will be filed against some suspects. A horse, several snakes, firearms, cocaine and other dangerous drugs were among the items recovered.

"This is a dynamic investigation that is still very active," Houston-based DPS Trooper Richard Standifer said. "We expect more arrests will be made in the short term."

Undercover officers attended and videotaped some of the weekly or bimonthly fights held at eight secluded sites in Harris County.

Though the 17-month undercover investigation was started by a tip from an informant in another state, records seized from a 2006 Liberty County raid where nearly 300 pitbulls were seized also aided the investigation, said Leone.

"They keep a lot of paperwork — journals of fights, etc.," said Harris County Pct. 6 Sgt. P. Leone, who works with the Houston Humane Society's Rescuing Animals In Danger Education Resource program. "We've found crates used to ship the dogs internationally, to places like Guatemala and Honduras."

One dog seized in east Houston was won by the suspect in Mexico and had what are considered "good fighting bloodlines," said Leone, who was present during several of the seizures.

While some dogs seized were in fairly decent condition, other sites housed dogs with multiple cuts and "flies in their ears," he said.  One dog's throat was open and exposed at a site in Conroe, said Leone.

"It's very obvious that these are not pets," he said, adding that the animals are "conditioned" to fight.

Weights are often tied to their necks to build strength. Harris County prosecutor Belinda Smith said the animals were often inbred, in an attempt to make them meaner.

And size doesn't matter, Leone said.  "You would think the bigger, stronger dogs would be the most desirable, but they're not. It's the smaller, more agile ones that are the fighters," he said.

An animal welfare official present at one of the seizures in Tyler County reported seeing dogfighting paraphernalia, including a treadmill and video cases from different fights, as well as the "charred skeletal remains" of what appeared to be a dog.

"We don't yet know why or how this happened," said Meera Nandlal, a spokeswoman with the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Authorities seized 61 dogs from that site. Each dog was individually chained outside, and out of the reach of the other dogs, when authorities arrived.  "The dogs were able to stand up and move," Nandlal said.

All of the animals seized during the investigation are being held at undisclosed locations for their safety and to prevent the owners from finding them.

"They are worth a fair amount of money. Pups go for $350, $400, $500. And those with champion-type bloodlines can go for $1,500 to $3,000," Leone said.

They are being cared for by the SPCA, Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services and the Houston Humane Society.

A judge will decide the dogs' fate.  "My guess is that the majority will have to be euthanized. Some of the dogs may be people friendly, but the question you have to ask yourself is whether or not you'd want your 3-year-old child around the dog," said Leone.

Former professional baseball player and Aldine ISD schoolteacher Jay Andrews, 37, was one of the eight people arrested. Investigators declined to detail Andrews' involvement in the dogfighting ring, but are confident that the evidence will prove the former Kansas City Royal was involved.  Andrews is out on $2,000 bond and could not be reached for comment.

"These operations are tangled webs. You've got all of these people who are connected in this underground world. And we'll eventually get them. This put a pretty big dent in the dogfighting world for a while," said Leone.

Mary Lewis had expected roofers to come to her house for a little remodeling the morning of Friday, November 14th. Instead she looked out her window to see police officers sporting masks and guns.

Unbeknownst to Lewis, the armed officers were just one part of a large-scale raid aimed at rooting out what officials are calling one of the largest organized dogfighting rings in the country.

Officers arrested 38-year-old Robert Lee Rogers from the property - located near the intersection of FM 1942 and Garth Road in Baytown - after finding 20 scarred and emaciated pitbulls being held there.

Tim Harkness, veterinarian for the Houston Humane Society, said that the dogs were bound with heavy chains and were forced to stand in pits of muddy, cold water.

Many were dangerously thin and showed evidence of facials wounds caused by fights, while others had abscessed wounds, bacterial skin infections, fleas and parasites.

“With the weather about to change in the next couple of days, a lot of them would have died,” he said. “Euthanasia is a better option than the one these dogs were trying to survive with.”

  Photo courtesy of Houston Community Newspapers - a trailer containing 20 kennels of abused and mistreated pitbulls is removed from the property by the Houston Humane Society The dogs will be taken to a central location and individually examined, Harkness added.

Acting on an outside tip, spokesperson Lisa Block said that undercover DPS agents had attended dozens of dogfights for over a year prior to this bust and obtained evidence suggesting that heavy drug trafficking and theft are also entwined with the operation.

Agents also discovered that many of the dogs were being purposely inbred with the goal of increasing their inclination toward erratic and violent behavior.

“A lot of time and effort was put into the training of these dogs,” said Block.

It is the agency’s hope that this crackdown will stem a disturbing trend in a state where the popularity of dogfighting appears to be on the rise.

“Many people in Texas still believe that dogfighting is entertainment. We are here to tell you that it is not entertainment, it’s a crime,” Block added.

Rogers and the seven other suspects are currently being held in Harris County jail. In total 41 felony charges were filed as a result of the arrests.

Lewis - Rogers’ neighbor and herself a dog owner - said that in the year knew him she never heard or saw anything that might have aroused suspicions of the terrible things happening on the property.

She admitted to watching Rogers carry kennels of dogs to and from the property on occasion but said that the animals all seemed perfectly healthy.

“He told us that he had the dogs because he used them as hunting dogs, pulling dogs and show dogs,” she said. “I had no clue he was keeping fighting dogs. I just took the man at his word.”

As for Rogers himself, Lewis said she didn’t know him personally but might have once described him as a, “good guy” who always treated her cordially and had once even attended the same church as her.

After this incident, however, she said she has a very different opinion of the man with regards to the abuse he is accused of perpetrating.

“It’s a crime, it shouldn’t be going on and had I known I would have reported it myself,” she said.

Update 11/16/08: 

"Just the sheer number of dogs — and the number of people involved — is really large-scale," Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Lisa Block said. "These were large events with a lot of people in attendance."

After the indictments were issued, officers quickly made eight arrests, even taking a teacher into custody at an Aldine Independent School District alternative campus.

The 17-month investigation began with a tip from an informant in another state, Block said.

Undercover officers infiltrated the ring and attended some of the fights, which took place weekly or twice a month at eight secluded sites in Harris County. Some managed to secretly record the illegal activities on video.

Only spectators known personally to the group were allowed to attend the bloody battles. Crowds usually ranged from 15 to 100 people.

High-stakes bets were placed weeks before a fight, with participants calling for a dog of a specific weight and gender and dictating how many weeks the animal should be trained, investigators said.

Dogs were weighed just before the fights to ensure they met the specifications of the bet. Funds were forfeited if any of the terms dictated were not met.

"This isn't just a couple of guys getting out there and saying, 'My dog can beat your dog,' " said one officer close to the case who asked not to be identified because he works undercover. "It was big money."

Bets placed on one fight totaled $80,000, investigators said. It was not uncommon for a participant to ante up $500 to $1,000 for a single match.

A neighbor of Donald Wayne Woods, 41, said many residents were angry about his loud dogs.

Nancy Sutton also described once seeing a Purina truck pull up to Woods' home on Robert E. Lee Road to deliver dog food.

Dale Dear, who lives two houses down from Woods, said he took a petition around to all his neighbors last year, gathering signatures in hopes that the county would remove the dogs.

Dear said he suspected Woods was into dogfighting.

"They built a little rinky-dink shack, and several of his buddies would come over on the weekends, shoot dice and drink and then all at once they'd go in the shack," Dear said. "He built a long part on the back of his house, and we couldn't hear them dogs anymore because he was fighting them inside."

Almost half the dogs seized — 86 of them — were found in east Harris County, including 19 animals taken from a kennel on Garth Road outside the Baytown city limits.

Investigators also seized 20 dogs in Conroe in Montgomery County and 81 dogs in Tyler County, Smith said.

The animals rescued in Harris and Montgomery counties are being cared for by the Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services and the Houston Humane Society.

More charges will be filed against some of the suspects for weapons, drugs, theft and possession of stolen property. Firearms, marijuana, cocaine and other dangerous drugs were recovered.

The indictments included 41 felony charges, primarily for engaging in dogfighting, and 45 misdemeanor charges for being a spectator at a dogfight.

Those convicted of engaging in a dogfight can face up to two years in jail, while those convicted of watching such an event can face up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Update 11/17/08Donald Woods is accused of playing a key role in a huge dogfighting ring was set to appear in court on unrelated drug and forgery charges.

Woods, 41, is one of 55 people charged in a year-long investigation into dogfights.

Update 11/19/08:  One of the men charged in connection with a huge dogfighting ring based in Harris County received $1,500 from undercover agents for a puppy that was intended for dogfighting, prosecutors said.

The allegation was made as Donald Wayne Woods (SPN # 00853459), DOB 6/3/67, appeared in court to face two counts of dogfighting.  His attorney said Woods denies the accusations.

The second man, Ellis Wayne Island Jr., said after his hearing that he did not have a leadership role in dogfighting . He would not say, however, whether he ever attended dogfights or participated in them.

"I'm no ringleader. I'm no kingpin," Island, said after a brief hearing in the court of state District Judge George Godwin.

Island's initial court appearance was reset to January 8th because he has not yet hired an attorney to represent him against three counts of dogfighting .

Woods, of Houston, appeared in the court of state District Judge Mike Anderson.

The judge ruled that prosecutors have enough evidence to proceed with the charges against Woods.

They also said that Woods organized a dogfight that undercover agents witnessed. Bets on that fight totaled between $4,500 and $5,000, prosecutors said.

Woods' attorney, Augustin Pink, said after the hearing that his client denies selling "anything to anybody."  "He's still maintaining his innocence," Pink said.

Woods is scheduled to appear in court again on December 4th.

If convicted, Island could face up to two years in jail. Woods, because of previous convictions, could receive a longer sentence if deemed a habitual criminal.

Island said he has managed a local restaurant for more than 20 years. He would not identify the restaurant.  "I get up and go to work every day," he said.

A non-descript warehouse on the east side of Houston has been the scene of brutal and bloody dogfights every week for the past eight months.

“A dog show, a dogfight or whatever you want to call it, is the Saturday night poker game for hard core criminals,” said Sgt. Manning, of the DPS Criminal Intelligence Service.

Sgt. Manning asked us not to use his first name because of undercover nature of his job. He and another DPS investigator have spent the last 15 months infiltrating the seedy world of dogfighting in Houston.

After gaining the trust of some key “dog men, “ as they refer to themselves, Manning and his partner set up shop in an east Houston warehouse where they staged “dog shows” virtually every weekend.

Also surprising: the broad spectrum of the people who showed up.  “We’ve got everything from a school teacher with no criminal history, to several individuals in the oil industry,” said Manning. "We have individuals who’ve been arrested for capital murder, narcotics dealers and bank robbers. It truly reaches across all boundaries.”

  Photo courtesy of TXCN  These puppies were among 14 dogs seized from one northeast Houston property.

The undercover agents took some disturbing video of the dogfights.  "What you see is animals bloodied, battered and bruised screaming in pain," Smith said. "Animals that are staggering in the ring. Other animals are trying to climb out of the ring."  "You see these animals suffering. You hear their suffering, but you also hear these people screaming in delight to their despair," Manning said. "They have some serious moral issues."

After all is said and done, authorities expect to arrest 85 people in multiple counties on over 155 felony charges.

  Photo courtesy of TXCN  It was the first of many raids to take place.

The investigation, called Operation Dead Game, was a joint effort between DPS, the USDA and the Harris County District Attorney’s office.

Crime Stoppers of Houston and the Harris County District Attorney's Office are asking the public's help in capturing over 40 felony fugitives charged with dogfighting in last week's multi-county investigation. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information called in to the 713-222-8477 (TIPS) hotline that leads to the capture of any felony suspect charged with dogfighting.


From left: Alfred Ramirez, Jeremy Booker, Patrick Charbonneau, Roderick Spencer, Pierre Hamilton, Masud Jahi and Donald Woods

Dogfighters and breeders of fighting dogs heavily contribute to the number of dangerous dogs in our communities. We do not want "rehabilitated" versions of these dogs adopted back into our communities. We do not want these dogs born in the first place. If you are not from Harris County, and you suspect dogfighting in your area, you can report these instances to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) who also grants a $5,000 reward.

Indicted on Charges:
Herman Adams
Latisha Adidi charges were dismissed
Teresa Allen
Jay Andrews
Sterling Bates
Robert Beasley
Jeremy Booker
Edwin Bradley
Rudy Cantrelle
Terrence Casey
Michael Ceaser
Patrick Charbonneau
Cedric Cleveland
Christopher Cooper
Jason Duncker
Darrick Ford
Fredrick Ford
Stanley Foster
George Franklin
Pierre Hamilton
Eugene Hickman charges were dismissed 04/22/09
Ellis Island
Masud Jahi
Harold Jeffrey
Terrence Jenkins
Charles Johnson
Troy Lee
Bridgette Massey
Lorenzo Moore
Jerrick Mosley
Ronald Munerlyn
Albert Ramirez charges were dismissed 12/16/08
Alfred Ramirez
George Ramirez
Jermaine Rice
Kevin Rogers
Robert Rogers
James Ross
DeCarlo Scott
Roderick Spencer
Benjamin Stanforth
William Stanforth
Jonathan Starling
James Turner
Kenneth Walker
Donnie Watson
Phil White
Gregory Wilson
Donald Woods

Update 12/3/08: Some 70 to 80 pitbulls seized as part of a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) raid on an illegal dogfighting ring have been euthanized, a spokesman with the Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services (HCPH) said.

Among the animals euthanized included the 20 pitbulls seized from a Garth Road property in Baytown. One of the eight suspects, 38-year-old Robert Lee Rogers, is accused of using the property to house and train animals for fighting.

Dogs seized from the site were described by veterinarians as dangerously malnourished and close to death. According to HCPH, the pitbulls seized in the raid were euthanized in accordance with a policy prohibiting the adoption of dogs trained for aggression. “These were dogs that were bred to fight, and letting them be adopted would not be a safe situation,” said the spokesperson.

While the eight suspects in custody prepare for their day in court, Harris County District Attorney Belinda Smith said that a search is still ongoing for three additional suspects in the case. “We only have their street names, but we’re hoping that the ones we have in custody will cooperate in helping us identify them,” she said.

As for the original eight suspects, Smith said that their trials will likely begin sometime after the first of the year. “Right now they’re all coming in sporadically for their arraignment hearings, but nothing will really heat up until January,” she said. “Right now everyone is just hiring attorneys.”

Update 1/7/09: The arraignment of Ellis Wayne Island, Jr, an alleged participant in the recently busted dogfighting ring in Houston, is January 8th.

Ellis Wayne Island Jr., stated after his hearing that he did not have a leadership role in dogfighting. He would not say, however, whether he ever attended dogfights or participated in them.

"I'm no ringleader. I'm no kingpin," Island, 45, said after a brief hearing in the court of state District Judge George Godwin.

Island's initial court appearance was reset to January 8th because he has not yet hired an attorney to represent him against three counts of dogfighting.

Update 1/27/09:  A reward is being offered to aid in the search for a 25-year-old man accused of participating in two dogfights in the Houston area last year.

  Photo courtesy of Houston Crime Stoppers  Jeremy Bryant Booker, 25was indicted on two counts of dogfighting after an investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, authorities said.

Investigators said they found that Booker had put dogs in fights on March 15th and April 5th, 2008, in the Houston and Harris County area.

A Harris County grand jury indicted Booker on November 14th and bail was set at $2,000 on each charge, but authorities have not been able to locate him.  The warrant #'s are 1191574 and 1191575.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to Booker’s arrest. Anyone with information can call 713-222-TIPS (8477) or submit information online at www.crime-stoppers.org

All callers remain anonymous.

Update 2/4/09:  The following people have been charged with dogfighting and some have been arrested.


>>Herman Adams >>Sterling Bates » Jeremy Booker » Edwin Bradley » Michael Ceaser » Patrick Charbonneau » Cedric Cleveland » Pierre Hamilton


» Eugene Hickman» Terrence Jenkins» Jerrick Mosley » Albert Ramirez » Alfred Ramirez » George Ramirez » James Ross » Roderick Spencer

Update 2/26/09: Crime Stoppers and its Law Enforcement Partners are seeking the public's assistance with help in locating Jahi Masud (aka Masud Jahi Morrow and Jahi Masud Morrow).

The Texas Department of Public Safety, the United States Department of Agriculture- OIG, and the Harris County District Attorney's Office conducted an undercover investigation into illegal dogfighting occurring in and around the Greater Houston and Harris County Area. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that Jahi Masud Morrow had participated in a dogfight by providing one of the dogs that fought.

Morrow was charged with dogfighting, he was indicted on February 11, 2009. Warrant number 1203003 issued by the 351st District Court for his arrest. His bond is set at $2,000.

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for any information called in to the 713-222-8477 tips hotline or submitted online at www.crime-stoppers.org that leads to the arrest of Jahi Masud Morrow. All tipsters remain anonymous.

Update 3/1/09: The majority of Harris County dogfighters charged after a massive 2008 undercover investigation were given deferred adjudication, served as little as two days in jail, had their charges dropped, or were never arrested.

Nearly 200 dogs were seized in the 17-month, three-county, multi agency operation, but court records filed in Harris County show that — even though much of the dogfighting was caught on videotape and witnessed by law enforcement officers — prosecutors doled out light sentences because, in most instances, the defendants were spectators, and were not witnessed entering dogs in fights. (Participants in dogfights can face up to two years in prison; spectators can get a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.)

But in some of those cases, even defendants whom officers witnessed entering dogs into fights had their charges dropped — like William Stanforth, who was indicted on three charges of felony dogfighting, only to have two charges dismissed and receive deferred adjudication for the third. And then there's Albert Ramirez, who a grand jury said "unlawfully, intentionally and knowingly caused a dog to fight with another dog" in October 2008, and whose case was dismissed a month later.

Others who were sentenced to time in Harris County Jail were allowed to serve during off-work hours; some of those who were charged were never even arrested. Some had criminal records, such as a man who was sentenced to 20 days for being a spectator, and who had previous convictions of assault of a family member, felony weapon possession, burglary of a vehicle and auto theft.

In a case where a defendant actually received imprisonment — six months in Harris County Jail — Animal Cruelty Prosecutor Belinda Smith did not object to the man serving his time on weekends, according to the defendant's lawyer. The judge ultimately denied the man's request.

In another case, Herman Adams received deferred adjudication for his role in the ring, even though he had a 2003 conviction for deadly conduct. (Previous charges for aggravated assault of a family member and manufacturing/delivery of a controlled substance were all dismissed.)

Smith, who called the 2008 sting the biggest undercover operation in the country, has been vocal about her determination to bring dogfighters to justice. After the bust, she stated that she established a "Pitbull Task Force," and tells officers involved in animal cruelty cases that "Even getting these guys behind bars for a year or two is [a] noble thing to do."

Apparently, putting them behind bars for two days is noble as well: On March 6, 2009, Darrick Ford was convicted on two separate charges of misdemeanor dogfighting — he was a spectator — and received a two-day sentence for each. He also received a two-day credit for each.

Ford got off much easier than Urias Contreras, who was sentenced to four whole days on one charge. Contreras was originally charged with felony dogfighting — meaning he actually caused one dog to fight with another — but the prosecutor lowered the charge to a misdemeanor. (A few months after serving his time, Contreras was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of a controlled substance).

Even in the case of Ronald Munerlyn, who was sentenced to 180 days in Harris County Jail, the penalty is a bit troubling: In February 2007, a jury found Munerlyn guilty of animal cruelty, and he was sentenced to a year in jail. (A separate animal cruelty charge was dismissed.) But Smith agreed to a suspended sentence, allowing Munerlyn to serve 28 days and enter into two years' probation — while on probation he attended at least one dogfight.

All those socked with deferred adjudication are not supposed to be around dogs during their probation...except for Donnie Watson. After charging Watson with three counts of dogfighting, prosecutors dropped two charges and gave him three years' deferred adjudication on the remaining felony count. Watson's not allowed to own any dogs — except for his cocker spaniel, who was already in his home.

In some cases, however, defendants served real time: Cedric Cleveland, who had previous convictions for possession of crack, unlawful carrying of a weapon and forgery, was sentenced to three years in prison.

Roderick Spencer received 16 months, and Pershing Powell was sentenced to ten months.

In all of the 41 known defendants, and all but seven defendants who received at least a month of jail or prison time, had their cases dismissed, received deferred adjudication or were sentenced to at most 20 days in jail.

Update 6/10/09: Sterling Honoray Bates has been sentenced to 15 months in state jail on his felony conviction of engaging in dogfighting. District Attorney Patricia Lykos announced Bates, 35, plead guilty to intentionally and knowingly causing a dog to fight during a match in the 6000 block of Milwee on August 28, 2008.

Belinda Smith, an Assistant District Attorney in the Animal Cruelty Section, said evidence showed the fight involving Bates' dog went on for more than an hour and caused injuries to both dogs in that fight.
Bates also plead guilty to a Class A misdemeanor offense of attending a dogfight as a spectator. That fight occurred on October 17, 2008 and was held at the same location on Milwee. Bates received a 100-day jail term in that case.

Joseph Allen Green Jr. received deferred adjudication for allowing a dogfight to be held on his property.

Update 9/9/13: A five thousand dollar reward has been issued by Crime Stoppers of Houston for the arrest of Alfred Ramirez, 40, for the crime of dogfighting. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Ramirez is asked to call 713-222-TIPS (8477), text TIP610 plus your tip to CRIMES (274637).

Authorities said Alfred Ramirez, is wanted following an incident that occurred back in October 2008. Police said in October of 2008, undercover officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the USDA Office of the Inspector General attended a dogfight in the 1300 block of Ester in Harris County. There, officials said Ramirez was seen subjecting a canine to a fight for money.

Ramirez is described as a Hispanic male who is about 5 feet 7 inches.

Reference:

KHOU-TV The Houston Chronicle
Harris County Sheriff's Office Houston Crime Stoppers
TXCN Houston Community Newspapers
Kingwood News Texas Police News