Investigators ask for tips about dogfighting

Published:
Updated:

Columbus humane agents believe people living in Columbus would be surprised to learn dog fighting is prevalent.

The crime was exposed on April 5, 2016 when humane agents executed five search warrants in west Columbus. Agents seized 46 dogs along with cages, treadmills, and heavy chains and collars.

The investigation resulted in the federal prosecution of four Columbus men, including 42-year old Charles A. Granberry. He's currently serving five years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Marous said the court takes the crime seriously.

"Much of our civilized society finds this repulsive," said Marous.

The U.S. Attorney's office shared never before seen photos with 10TV showing dogs isolated, tethered by heavy chains, some carefully concealed in the defendant's attic.

Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Heather Robinson also prosecuted the case and said most fighting dogs live their lives in training to build up endurance, bite strength and aggression.

"They were raised essentially their entire lives in solitary confinement," said Robinson. "They had a horrible existence even before the fighting began."

Investigators said the underground world of Columbus dog fighting is as organized as it is secretive. An undercover Columbus Humane Agent who asked not to be identified described a typical, organized dogfight. The animals are introduced in a square pit.

"They're kept in their own separate corners very similar to a boxing ring or an MMA match. Upon release they're going to charge headfirst at each other," said the humane agent.

The dogs rarely fight to the death, but often later die from the severity of their injuries or infection.

The humane agent said the average fight can last about 45-minutes but have been recorded to endure for as long as five hours.

Prosecutors say greed is the motivating factors. It's estimated during a large-scale dogfight, $20,000-30,000 can change hands.

"Because they're betting, just like they're at a casino or somewhere else They're betting on the outcome," explained Marous. "There's some perverse entertainment for watching the animals fight until they're injured," he added.

Investigators said Granberry purchased his prizefighting dog, Escobar, for $4,500. Humane agents say they had no choice but to euthanize Escobar, along with 31 of the 46 dogs rescued during the raid. The animals were either aggressive or suffering medical issues.

The undercover humane agent said it's easy to spot the signs of dog fighting in your neighborhood.

Dogs are often kept on heavy chains to help strengthen neck muscles for fighting. The investigator said she once rescued a 30-pound dog dragging a 30-pound chain.

The humane agent said to keep an eye out for out of state tags frequently taking dogs to and from a residence, and if the number of "pets" living next door frequently changes, 15 dogs one week and five dogs the next, it should send up a red flag.

Columbus human says people with information about dog fighting in Columbus can leave an anonymous tips by calling 614-777-7387, extension 250.