Sixty-three pit bulls were rescued from a large-scale dogfighting ring in Dodge County.
The dogs were seized during a midnight raid at a home on Rozar Goolsby Road outside Eastman March 17, said Assistant District Attorney Chris Gordon of the Oconee Judicial Circuit.
Seven people were arrested on dogfighting charges, including a resident of the home, James Lampkin, Gordon said. Others included Benjamin Shinhoster, Dwight McDuffie, Deveon Hood, Joe Ford, Xavier Simmons and Andre Archer .
The raid followed a Georgia State Patrol stop of a vehicle that authorities were looking for earlier that night. The discovery of a bloodied dog inside gave authorities what they needed to get a search warrant for the Rozar Goolsby Road property.
Three firearms, marijuana and cocaine were also seized in the raid.
The dogs, now in the care of veterinarians, were found staked outside with heavy chains and most without water or food, WMAZ-TV reported. A dogfighting pit and training equipment were also found.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is the lead agency in the dogfighting investigation. Their agents were helped in the raid by Oconee District Attorney's Office, the Ocmulgee Drug Task Force, the Dodge County Sheriff's Office and the state Department of Natural Resources.
Dogfighting is both a state and federal crime.