Four arrested for animal cruelty

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Butler County Sheriff Deputies arrested three men and one juvenile on Friday, Dec. 12 after breaking up a dog-fighting ring.

Arrested were Timothy Earl Knight, 38, of 1967 Holly Hill Road; Marvin Dewayne Steward, 19, or 149 Whisper Lane and Christopher Terrence Wilson, 20, of 1514 Montgomery Highway, according to Sheriff Diane Harris.

She said all three were charged with cruelty to animals, with Knight being charged the severest with cruelty to animals in the first degree.

A juvenile was also arrested but his identity is protected because of his age.

He was turned over to juvenile authorities.

According to Chief Deputy Ronald Coleman, when he and Deputy Al McKee made the arrests, it was apparent from statements given that the other three were simply watching, and Knight was the alleged ringleader.

&uot;Chief Deputy Ronald Coleman and Deputy Al McKee arrived at 1467 Holly Hill Road following a call to E911 in reference to dogs fighting at that address,&uot; Harris said.

&uot;Whey they arrived they heard gun shots and they pulled their weapons in response.&uot;

According to Coleman’s report when he and McKee arrived they saw four black males standing around with some bulldogs, but before they could get to the area where the guys were standing, they heard three gunshots.

Coleman said Knight approached them with his weapon and was advised to put the weapon down, and he complied.

&uot;At that time, we saw a white bull dog walking from the direction which Knight came from with gun shots with one seeming to be in the center of his head between the eyes and in his stomach,&uot; the report stated.

Coleman stated at that time Knight was arrested and advised of his rights, but the suspect claimed the dog tried to bite him.

When they arrived they heard gunshots and they pulled out their weapons.

They shot the dog in the head and the stomach.

When the three faced arraignment Monday at the Butler County Courthouse, the first-degree charge against Knight was reduced by Circuit Judge MacDonald Russell, which lowered it from felony to misdemeanor status. According to BCSO Investigator Steve Blankenship, this was due to a clerical error.

&uot;Someone had written cruelty to animals on the commitment cards for all three,&uot; he said.

&uot;The judge recalled the warrant and we plan to re-arrest Knight on cruelty to animals first degree.&uot;

All three bonded out Monday on $1,000 each.

Now, with the charge against Knight back up to Class C felony, his bond will likely be about $10,000.

&uot;This situation is just pitiful,&uot; Harris said. &uot;Those poor dogs were so badly mistreated. There is no reasoning for someone to do that.&uot;

The dog was transported to Dr. Bill Watson’s Veterinary Clinic for treatment but Harris said the dog had to be euthanized in the end.

Just regular cruelty to animals is usually the charge if someone is starving an animal, not taking care of it or generally abusing it, Blankenship said.

The felony charge usually involves torture, skinning animals or using them for fighting, as alleged in this case.