5 arrested in Florida dogfighting ring: DOJ

Five individuals were arrested Wednesday for their alleged role in running a Florida-based dogfighting operation, the Department of Justice said in a Wednesday press release.

Shane Patrick Sprague, 35, Derek Jedidiah Golson, 38, Haley Cook Murph, 24, David Lee Moser, 36, and James Peek, 67, were named in a 44-count federal indictment accusing them of multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act and conspiracy to commit those violations.

Five individuals were arrested Wednesday for their alleged role in a Florida-based dogfighting operation. 

Five individuals were arrested Wednesday for their alleged role in a Florida-based dogfighting operation.  (justice.gov)

According to the indictment, Sprague and Golson allegedly operated C Woods Kennels, an operation in Pensacola that arranged dogfights and allowed the dogs to attack “bait” animals.

Sprague and Golson are accused of trafficking in fighting dogs with Moser and others through an underground dogfighting website, while Peek allegedly supplied fighting dogs to C Wood Kennels, the indictment says.

Murph is accused of acting as a “veterinarian” for C Wood Kennels, despite possessing no license or qualifications. She allegedly performed veterinary and surgical procedures on fighting dogs to avoid the scrutiny of a licensed veterinarian, according to the indictment.

“Dogfighting is a blight on humanity, one that has no place in the Northern District of Florida or anywhere else,” said U.S. Attorney Lawrence Keefe of the Northern District of Florida.  “We will continue to work with federal and local law enforcement agencies to root out this barbaric blood sport, in Florida and beyond.”

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Under the federal Animal Welfare Act of 1966, it is a felony to sponsor or exhibit an animal in a fighting venture and to possess, train, sell, purchase, transport, deliver or receive an animal for purposes of having it participate in a fighting venture.

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The case is under investigation by the USDA-OIG and being prosecuted by DOJ Trial Attorney Ethan Eddy and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Love.