Dogfighting ring busted

DeKalb County investigators arrested two people in Ellenwood in connection with dogfighting. According to officers approximately 17 dogs were seized from the house and transported to DeKalb’s animal shelter.

Foster homes needed

A DeKalb County husband and wife were recently charged with dogfighting after officials received complaints of suspicious activity at a residence at 421 Cedar Grove Place in Ellenwood.

According to DeKalb County detective Jason Gagnon, two people were charged with dogfighting and police are searching for another. Chaketa Williams, 37, and her husband Willie Dasher, 45, were charged with dogfighting and appeared in court Jan. 5.

Police are still searching for Christopher Austin, 47.

Gagnon said the charges of dogfighting came after investigators noticed several dogfighting “paraphernalia” items at the residence.

“We got a call from the area and they were supposedly moving dogs in large cages and dogs were being chained in the back yard. When they checked out the conditions there were a lot of paraphernalia items like treadmills and calendars with what we believe to be fight dates on them,” Gagnon said. “We also found documentation for training regimens.”

Gagnon said the dogs recovered from the residence had bite marks consistent with dog fighting. In total, 17 dogs were seized from the home, some of which were puppies.

“We found medicine to treat dog wounds in the house. On the dogs we found ‘hit marks’ which are bite or scratch marks on the face or on the muzzle of a dog used in dog fighting. At least half of the dogs had these ‘hit marks’ on the back of the legs, which is consistent with dog fighting,” Gagnon said.   

In 2004, Dasher was charged with dog fighting but pled to a lesser charge of gambling. He’s also been charged with multiple drug offenses, Gagnon said.

DeKalb County investigators arrested two people in Ellenwood in connection with dogfighting. According to officers approximately 17 dogs were seized from the house and transported to DeKalb’s animal shelter.

DeKalb County investigators arrested two people in Ellenwood in connection with dogfighting. According to officers approximately 17 dogs were seized from the house and transported to DeKalb’s animal shelter.

 

The dogs were brought to Lifeline Animal Project’s DeKalb County animal shelter. Officials said the shelter is already at capacity.

“We’ve been taking in more dogs than usual this season and we’re filled with hundreds of dogs at both shelters,” said Karen Hirsch, spokesperson for Lifeline.

Lifeline, which took over the animal shelters five years ago and increased adoption by 300 percent, according to officials, manages the animal shelters in DeKalb and Fulton counties.

Hirsch said the shelters could use more people willing to foster the animals.

“We’re asking the public to open their homes to fostering. They can foster dogs that we already have. A lot of them are really sweet,” Hirsch said. “Having 19 additional animals come in who each have to be housed in separate runs strains our already crowded shelters in terms of manpower, space and resources.”

Gagnon said dogfighting cases are rare in DeKalb County. He said in his more than three years of working with DeKalb, this is the first case he’s seen.

“DeKalb just isn’t a big hub for fighting locations. This is like one of our first dogfighting cases. It just doesn’t happen here often. You see it in more rural areas,” Gagnon said.

Gagnon said he wanted investigators to stake out the property a little longer to see if it would lead them to other dogfighters. However, when animal control went to the property to investigate potential animal cruelty charges, officers had to move fast once they noticed it was a dog fighting case.

“We got a good tip,” Gagnon said. “I would have liked to [have sat] on the house for about a week, but once animal control got on the scene it was kind of like the cat was out of the bag.”

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