Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

April 3, 2013

Authorities: Kansas dogfighting ring extends into East Texas

CHEROKEE COUNTY — A Kansas-based dog fighting ring that reached as far as this area of East Texas recently was neutered by federal authorities.

This brutal operation involved more than 60 dogs — mostly victimized pit bulls —  and spanned three states, including Texas, Kansas and Missouri, authorities said.

Law enforcement officials announced that two Kansas City men  — Pete Davis, Jr., 38, and Melvin Robinson, 41,  — recently were arrested in connection with the case.

Both were taken into custody on suspicion of  buying, selling, delivering or transporting animals for participation in an animal fighting venture. If convicted, they both face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.

In a recent news conference, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said authorities are taking a dim view of such activities.

“Dog fighting is not a sport — it is a crime,” Grissom said. “Federal law prohibits cruelty to animals on the level of the events that are alleged in these charges.”

Although one of the “dog fights” is alleged to have taken place in the Tyler-Jacksonville area, its exact location was unclear Tuesday. A member of the Jacksonville Police Department could not immediately be reached to comment.

The law now ensures severe consequences for lawbreakers in these types of cases, the U.S. Attorney said.

“In 2008, after the Michael Vick case, Congress increased the punishment for dog fighting,” Grissom explained. “What was a misdemeanor is now a felony with punishment up to five years.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is providing the veterinary care and shelter for the dogs involved in the case, reports show.

This case is the result of an extensive FBI investigation that began in November 2012, authorities said.

According to court documents:

• Robinson kept a treadmill at his residence in Kansas City to train dogs to fight — routinely placing a harness on a dog and chaining that harness to the treadmill for several hours at a time.

The treadmill was equipped with a plywood box designed to keep the dog on the treadmill. Robinson also put weights on the dog to strengthen it and provided caged live chickens in front of the treadmill as bait.

• Robinson and Davis discussed betting $20,000 to $30,000 on a dog they were training for the “dog show” scheduled to take place in the Dallas area March 23.

• On March 17, Davis and Robinson held three dog fights involving six dogs at the farm in Missouri in preparation for an upcoming dog fight in Dallas.

• At various times during the investigation, dogs are alleged to have died at the farm in Missouri and their bodies discarded.

• On March 22,  investigators followed Robinson and Davis as they traveled to a location for a dog fight near the Tyler-Jacksonville area.

The case was worked by numerous East Texas agencies, including the Texas Parks And Wildlife Department. It also was handled by several other law enforcement entities, including the FBI and Kansas and Missouri authorities.

Text Only
Local News
  • Cuney Council cancels meeting, again

    Tuesday's Cuney City Council meeting – in which local alderman were to vote on canceling a May 10 election due to unopposed status of candidates – was canceled because of a lack of quorum, according to City Secretary Brenda Lankford.

    April 23, 2014

  • Sen. Nichols speaking.tif Senator Nichols speaks to Jacksonville Leadership Institute

    State Senator Robert Nichols (R) spoke to the Jacksonville Leadership Institute Tuesday regarding the role of government in Texas.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jacob.tif Local boy recovering from campfire accident in Dallas hospital

    Jacob Sessions of Jacksonville was burned on 71 percent of his body on April 5 from a campfire accident. He is currently in Parkland ICU due to his injuries, according to a representative for the family.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • THOMPSON, CEDRICK.tif Cherokee County woman found dead

    At approximately 9:35 a.m. Sunday,  Kayla Nicole Thompson, 27, was found deceased in the driveway of her residence, located in the 1500 block of County Road 3201,  just West of Lake Jacksonville.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • BullardFUNRUN.tif Bullard Education Foundation sets record with event

    The Bullard Education Foundation hosted its 4th annual 5K /Fun Run, “Strides for Excellence” on Saturday morning, April 19.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fire destroys Sims Avenue residence

    Jacksonville Fire Department responded to a fire in the 900 block of Sims Avenue early Saturday.

    April 22, 2014

  • Community library on council agenda

    The Bullard City Council will met at 6 p.m. today at Bullard First Baptist Church, 1428 S. Houston, for the regular board meeting.

    April 22, 2014

  • Council to mull election, roads

    The Cuney City Council will meet at 10 a.m. today at the Cuney Municipal Building.

    April 22, 2014

  • Christian Rapper 0419.tif Local rap artist spreads the 411 on Jesus

    "I have seen things in my life that would make Dr. Phil crazy," Jacksonville native, ordained minister and aspiring rap artist Stephen I. Crow Jr. said with a laugh. "That's why I don't label my music specifically as "Christian rap" -- yes, Christians who love rap can listen and hopefully be uplifted, but I truly want and am trying to bring the word and Jesus' message to people who may never have heard it or don't believe it's for them.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tomato Bowl flushed to bottom of priorities

    The historic Tomato Bowl, built in 1940, stands strong on the outside, but according to some people the inside needs a lot of work in order to not be an eyesore.

    April 19, 2014