Sunday, March 28, 2010 11:49 PM
This is just bad'
Vet rushes to save dogs; 5 charged with dog fighting
By Gina Childress | Times Staff Writer
The young, female pit bull was sedated so the veterinarian could repair numerous bite wounds sustained, officials said, in a bloody dog fight in Lucama. She was one of five dogs surrendered to Animal Enforcement officers after they received a report of a possible dog fight in progress Sunday morning. She didn't survive.
Richard Wayne Pearson, 41, of 6465 Alton Road, Lucama; James Milton Wade, 38, of 1194 Browntown Road, Snow Hill; Tony Maurice Hall, 34, of 1225 Fred Harrison Road, Snow Hill; Keefe Decarlos Mchail, 37, of 1924 Edwin Drive, Raleigh and Jerontae Jenair Johnson, 29, of 168 School Street, Pantego were all arrested and charged with dog fighting.
Frantic scene EC VETS (East Carolina Veterinary Emergency Treatment Services) in Wilson became a frantic scene as animal enforcement officers brought in each dog. Dr. Jennifer Hummel first evaluated, then treated each pit bull. Hummel was especially concerned with the female who was almost took weak to walk on its own. She also needed stitches to repair the damage. Based on her condition, the vet determined this wasn't the first time the dog had been involved in a fight. There were a lot of old scars along with new wounds," she said. "There was also some blood in her urine, which means she probably had some internal injuries as well." Hummel, along with two assistants, worked to clean the female's wounds and provide immediate medical treatment. But in the end, the dog was just too weak to survive her injuries. She never awoke from the anesthesia.
Four dogs survive
Hummel said the other four dogs were expected to recover from their injuries. They will be housed at the animal shelter until arrangements can be made for their placement, officials said.
This is just bad," said Major Mickey Wilson, head of the Animal Enforcement Division of the Wilson County Sheriff's Office, who assisted in the investigation. Wilson said they were tipped off by a passing motorist who saw a group of vehicles at a horse stable and heard dog barking coming from the building. Deputy E. Smith was dispatched to the Alton Road residence of Richard "Ricky" Pearson," Wilson said.
"When he arrived, he did not see anything. But as he was leaving, he saw the cars across the street at the (horse) stable, heard the barking and went to investigate. Pearson owns and operates a pit bull kennel on his property, according to the sheriff's office.
At one time, Wilson said Pearson had over 50 dogs, but has since downsized his operation. Ricky's place is very clean," Wilson said. "We check it randomly and have never had to cite him for any kennel violations. Wilson said when Smith arrived at the horse stable, also owned by Pearson, he was greeted by five men attempting to leave. He said Smith could see some of the dogs had fresh puncture wounds and were bleeding. He also noticed scars from previous injuries. "One of the dogs was even being transported in the trunk of a car," Wilson said. "A lot of times dogs that are being fought are placed in the trunk of a car to be transported so they won't be noticed by law enforcement.
When questioned, the men said they weren't fighting the dogs; they were trying to breed them. When Deputy Smith looked at the dogs he could see all of the wounds and inquired about them. He was told they were trying to breed the dogs when they got into a fight," Wilson said. It is not uncommon for pit bulls to fight when they are being bred, Wilson said. So, in an effort to confirm the men's account, officials called for medical assistance. Hummel performed blood work on the two female dogs and determined neither was in heat.
Once that determination was made, we took all of the suspects in custody and charged them," Wilson said. Pearson, Mchail, Hall and Wade were all charged with one count of felony dog fighting and one count of felony cruelty to animals.
They were placed in the Wilson County Jail under a $5,000 secured bond. Johnson, accused of transporting a dog in his trunk, was given an additional charge of attempting to elude a law enforcement officer. He was placed in jail under a $7,500 secured bond.
As of late Sunday afternoon, all were still in custody. The five men are scheduled to make their first appearances in court this morning at 9.