published Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

A Dothan, Ala., man becomes 14th arrested in federal dog fighting probe

By PHILLIP RAWLS

Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A Dothan man is the 14th person arrested in a federal dog fighting investigation that stretches across four states.

Federal prosecutor Clark Morris said Tuesday that David Grace was arrested Monday on a charge of possession of dogs for fighting purposes. Court records show investigators took 33 pit bulls from his home and his mother's home in Abbeville. At a court hearing Monday, Grace said he plans to hire an attorney, but court records don't indicate that had been done yet.

An affidavit from FBI agent Raymond Smith said cooperating witnesses and confidential sources told investigators that Grace had fought dogs in south Alabama, west Georgia and north Florida. He wrote that the information led to investigators getting a search warrant for Grace's home in Dothan on Oct. 10.

During the search, Grace told investigators he breeds and sells pit bulls, but doesn't fight them. But the FBI agent wrote that they found a treadmill device at Grace's home that is commonly used to train pit bulls before fights.

The 13 people arrested earlier as part of a grand jury indictment are from Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. Morris said Grace "ran in the same crowd," but he was not included in the indictment because information about him came up separately during the course of the investigation.

He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Nov. 6.

In the meantime, the Humane Society of the United States is caring for the dogs at an undisclosed location. Spokeswoman Stephanie Twining the dogs now number 37 because one had four puppies. The Humane Society said in a statement that many of the dogs "had injuries and scarring consistent with dog fighting."

The total number of dogs now being cared for in the investigation totals 466, Twining said.

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