DUBLIN, Ga. (WSAV) — Three people admit to participating in a since broken-up dogfighting enterprise in 2018 in Dodge County, according to a federal court in the Southern District of Georgia.
Three of the seven defendants entered guilty pleas including: Benjamin Shinhoster III, 41, of Augusta, Deveon Hood, 34, of Tennille, Ga. and Andre Archer, 23, of Sandersville, Ga.
The Augusta man pleaded guilty to Sponsoring and Exhibiting a Dog in an Animal Fighting Venture. Both Archer and Hood pleaded guilty to Conspiracy, according to Acting U.S. Attorney David H. Estes. All three face up to five years in prison without parole, financial penalties and three years of supervised release following their sentence. All three await their sentencing dates.
“Along with our law enforcement partners, our office is committed to eradicating these animal fighting operations that are nothing more than organized contests of cruelty,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “Such barbaric activities will continue to find an intensely unwelcoming environment in the Southern District of Georgia.”
Four defendants await their trials. Of those, James Lampkin, aka “Pookie,” 46, of Eastman, Ga., faces the most charges: Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Welfare Act; and 63 counts of Possessing and Training a Dog for Purposes of an Animal Fighting Venture. Sixty-three dogs were seized on Lampkin’s property on March 17, 2018, where a federal indictment alleges dog fights took place. All three charges are felonies carrying up to 15 years total in prison. Lampkin also faces up to one year in prison for an Attending an Animal Fighting Venture misdemeanor.
The Southern District of Georgia listed below the remaining three awaiting trial:
- Xavier Simmons, 34, of Sandersville, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Welfare Act, and Attending an Animal Fighting Venture;
- Joe Ford, 33, of Elgin, S.C., charged with Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Welfare Act, and Attending an Animal Fighting Venture; and,
- Dwight McDuffie, 44, of Eastman, Ga., charged with Attending an Animal Fighting Venture.
Georgia State Patrol troopers and Georgia Department of Natural Resources game wardens completed traffic stops in Eastman where they discovered an injured dog in one of the vehicles, according to Estes. Investigators executed a search warrant at Lampkin’s address, finding dogs chained in his backyard.
“This investigation and prosecution should send a strong zero-tolerance message to those individuals who traffic in inflicting pain and suffering on animals,” Jason Williams said, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General. “We appreciate the commitment of our federal partners in pursuing these purveyors of death who operate and find entertainment in animal fighting ventures.”