Judge drops dogfighting charges, keeps animal cruelty allegations against York man

James Rhodes
James Rhodes

A judge Tuesday dismissed dogfighting charges against a York man charged in January after police found dogs battling each other outside his home, but the man still faces several counts of ill treatment of animals that allege torture of the pit bull mix dogs.

James Willie Rhodes, 28, who has a previous conviction for ill treatment of animals from 2012, was arrested along with two other people after deputies found the dogs fighting behind Rhodes’ home near York.

Rhodes had been charged with dogfighting, but that charge was dismissed by Magistrate Dan Malphrus Tuesday after Rhodes’ lawyer, Twana Burris-Alcide, argued that Rhodes was trying to separate the dogs from fighting and there was no spectators or gambling.

Rhodes was not in court Tuesday.

Yet police said in January and again Tuesday in court that the dogs had broken teeth, scars, bloody wounds, and other injuries. Prosecutor Megan Fuller said in court that four of the dogs were so dehydrated that the pit bull mixes needed extensive medical care to survive.

Rhodes still faces four counts of ill treatment of animals.