Sheriff offers $10,000 of own money for dogfight info
11Alive News - September 06, 2007
The ripple effect of the Michael Vick case is spreading. Now, there is something unique to the state of Georgia -- a statewide reward to combat dogfighting.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Georgia Sheriff's Association announced a $2,500 reward for anyone with information leading to a dogfighting arrest.
When Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway announced that he was offering $10,000 of his own money to anyone with information about dogfighting, he hoped that would lead to a statewide reward.
Now, he has his wish -- but it will depend on the generosity of those who want to bring dog fighting to an end.
It was the first opportunity for many, including Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, to tour a facility that will shelter abandoned and abused animals. Among those on the tour, Liz Hallsworth and her Carin terrier Jamie. She works for the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department, where she said her eyes were recently opened to the horrors of dogfighting.
"I've always known they've done it," she said. "I guess I never known it was going on so close to home."
Since the Vick case, awareness and shock have grown at home, and some are now saying Georgia is a haven for dogfighting.
"Georgia has huge dogfighting issues," said Laura Bevan of the Gwinnett Humane Society. "The dogfighting magazines have been produced in Georgia in the past. It's a huge, huge problem in this state."
The Georgia Sheriff's Association is now offering $2,500 each and every time someone produces information that puts a dogfighter out of business and in jail. The money will come from donations -- and some people across the state have already pitched in.
"We're looking forward to generating some funds," said Terry Norris of the Georgia Sheriff's Association. "And I think there's a lot of folks in this state that are interested in moving this issue to somewhere else."
Gwinnett County's sheriff thinks rewards will help crack the secret underground world of dogfighting.
"Anytime you have two or more people, you have somebody talking to law enforcement," said Conway. "And I think the $2,500 reward will certainly spark some of that among dogfighting groups."
Conway's offer of a $10,000 reward in Gwinnett County has already produced a couple of solid leads that investigators are looking into now. There may be some arrests in relation to those leads sometime in the near future.