HARRISON COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office has made an arrest in connection to suspected dogfighting in the county.

Deputies and a Game Warden responded to a call to the 100 block of Strickland Springs in reference to possible dog fighting.

Deputies and the warden noticed a crowd of nearly 100 people when they arrived at the location.

“The initial thought was, ‘well, this is just a pasture party with adults,’ …but that quickly
changed once they discovered evidence of dogfighting (several malnourished K9’s, K9 weights,
dozens of kennels with blood, Etc.),” a release from the sheriff’s office said.

Officials said the scene became chaotic when the crowd began fleeing from the location.

“We went down to the back, where by this time people had flooded, there was a high line coming out the back that they were leaving out of,” said Sheriff Fletcher.

A HCSO investigator responded and helped deputies secure a search warrant for the property, vehicles and other related items.

A dog with injuries consistent with dog fighting was rescued from the location. The dog was reportedly “extremely malnourished and was found packed in a small kennel.” It was taken to Marshall Police Animal Control, but had to be euthanized due to the severity of its injuries.

One arrest has been made in connection to the incident. 31-year-old Jesus Stephens from Waskom was arrested charged with dog fighting and animal cruelty on Nov. 14.

His bonds totaled $15,000 and he bonded out the same day.

Sheriff Fletcher said, “Dog Fighting is an organized criminal enterprise that a nationwide problem. The violence these K9s endured is horrific and will not be tolerated. Our Deputies and Game Warden did an outstanding job, and this is a prime example of the unknowns Law Enforcement encounter daily.”

The sheriff added that “there was some intelligence sometime back, there was a leg of a dog fighting ring found somewhere else that had found its way into our county but it was unknown where it was, and it was unknown who was involved, now I think we know.”

The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are likely, the sheriff’s office said.