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Documents: Dogs in Gadsden County dogfighting ring were given black market drugs

Posted at 6:18 PM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 18:18:30-05

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — A grand jury has found enough reason to indict three men involved in dog fighting in Gadsden County.

Jermaine Hadley, Leonard Safford, and Decarlise Chapman, who works for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, now face nearly 50 charges connected to the Gadsden County dog fighting ring.
The other people involved in the dog fighting bust took guilty pleas earlier this year.

"These crimes need to be taken seriously," said Kate McFall, an animal cruelty advocate. "If someone is violent or cruel to an animal, most likely they'll be violent or cruel to a human."

Kate McFall is an animal cruelty advocate who spends her time volunteering at Tallahassee animal shelter.

"It's not uncommon for law enforcement to go in for one reason and then find out that someone is fighting dogs and pursue them for that," said McFall.

The fighting was discovered during a drug trafficking operation from November of 2014 to May of this year. Investigators state one dog drowned amid dozens of dogfights. Between the three of them, the men owned more than 50 dogs.

Court documents detail the horrific life for the pit bulls locked in cages bred to fight then never taken to a veterinarian to properly heal, many given black market drugs.

"It's very common," McFall explained. "They don't want to go to a regular veterinarian so they do their own homestyle vet."

While the animals will likely have limps and scars from the years of abuse, McFall says the biggest challenge for those recovered animals is getting used to a normal life.

"I did meet some of the dogs that were in the care of the Leon County Humane Society that came from that Gadsden County case," McFall explained. "They had some healing to do but very sweet."

Hadley, Safford and Chapman will be back in court in February. If found guilty, they're looking at five years in prison and $250,000 charges per charge.