Fort Mill Times

Fort Mill police got a call about a truck. Did it lead them to a dog fighting site?

This pit bull shown at the York County Animal Control facility in York several years ago was seized in a dog fighting investigation in which three McConnells men were charged. Police in Fort Mill and Animal Control are investigating what appears to be an incidence of dog fighting in Fort Mill’s Paradise neighborhood.
This pit bull shown at the York County Animal Control facility in York several years ago was seized in a dog fighting investigation in which three McConnells men were charged. Police in Fort Mill and Animal Control are investigating what appears to be an incidence of dog fighting in Fort Mill’s Paradise neighborhood. Herald file photo

Police found what they say appears to be a dog fighting scene in the town’s Paradise neighborhood, though no arrests have been made.

“I know this is something that’s still being looked into,” said Maj. Bryan Zachary, public information officer for the Fort Mill Police Department. “It is still being investigated. There are not any pending charges at this time, with our agency.”

Officers arrived on Sanders Street a little past 2 p.m. Dec. 9, after a call about a suspicious vehicle backing up behind a home there. Officers said they found a gold Suburban backed up to an empty lot between houses. The incident report doesn’t state whether the vehicle prompting the call, a red pickup truck, was still there.

According to the report, “several subjects” were talking and walking toward the back of one of the homes. Two men were walking away from the wood line walking a tan-colored pit bull. Both men were wearing camouflage clothing. They loaded the dog in their vehicle and left the scene. Officers were able to take down and call in the tag number.

An officer then asked a man who lives at the home nearest the scene if any of the dogs were fighting dogs. The resident stated dogs weren’t fighting, but were being bred. The officer asked multiple times if he could check on the well-being of dogs at the scene. The first time, the resident said he was going to feed them. The second, he “became upset and angry” and told police they didn’t have any right to check on his dogs.

The officer told the man he was going to check to make sure the dogs had food, water and shelter. The resident, per the report, became even more angry and started using expletives.

Once the officer reached the wood line, he found several dogs in dog houses and others in plastic barrels with the front half cut open. The dogs were on short chains tied to the dog houses or barrels. None had food at the time.

The officer then found “several” wooden crates and plywood that were nailed and screwed together to make a rectangle. They were put together to create two openings, one on each end of the structure. The makeshift pen “is consistent with a dog fighting” pen, according to the report.

The officer took pictures, and while walking out of the woods found another plastic barrel laying on its side with the lid cut in half, just like others he saw. That barrel contained a “rotting pit bull dog carcass,” the report states.

The officer took pictures of the carcass and contacted York County Animal Control.

Trish Startup, spokesperson for York County, confirmed an investigation by that agency, but said she couldn’t provide more details.

“Animal control is currently investigating,” she said. “Therefore, we can’t speak about this case.”

The incident happened in a residential area, with Sanders Street homes backing up to others on Joe Louis Street. It’s just opposite residences on Bozeman Drive, run by the Housing Authority of Fort Mill. Part of the area between homes on Sanders and Joe Louis is 37 largely wooded acres owned by Clear Springs Land Company, according to county land records.

Zachary said despite evidence of dog fighting, there wasn’t cause for the responding officer to make arrests at the time.

“At the time, there wasn’t any actual dog fighting going on,” he said. “There wasn’t anything taking place at that time that he could say was illegal activity.”

Police and animal control will work together to determine if any crimes were committed, or any charges forthcoming.

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