By Ed Brock
Among the 123 people arrested Saturday in connection with a dog fight in Newton County were seven Clayton County residents.
They are Broderick Roshay Credell of Jonesboro, Willie Lee Dasher of Ellenwood, Rachel Evon Jones of Ellenwood, Theodies Nelson of Riverdale, Reginald Von Riley of Ellenwood, Frazier Demetrius Scott of College Park and Carlos Eugene Senter of Morrow.
Authorities made the arrests late Saturday night in a rural Newton County residence that had been converted into a bloody stage for dog fights.
The Newton County Sheriff's department found a gory scene. A dead dog lay on one side of a makeshift ring. Another dog was so badly mauled it was later euthanized. Blood covered the walls and soaked through the old green carpet.
The group had gathered for a night of gambling and dog fighting with a winner-take-all pot of $50,000, officials said. The unexpected result was the 123 participants who were arrested face felony charges of cruelty to animals, dog fighting and commercial gambling.
"It's hard to understand any crime, but to see animals used or I should say misused for someone's entertainment like this is just pitiful," Newton County Sheriff Joe Nichols said. "It just tears at your heart."
Deputies recovered about a dozen guns, several kilograms of marijuana and cocaine and more than a quarter of a million dollars, Sheriff's Sgt. Mark Mitchell said. Deputies also found four trophies engraved with the date of the fight.
"This wasn't a gathering of people who just happened to hear about it and showed up," Mitchell said. "It was well planned."
Newton authorities were initially tipped off by officials from Bibb and Jones counties.
When deputies surveyed the area, they found more than 70 cars lining the street outside the house. Only two had Newton County tags. The other cars carried out-of-state or Middle Georgia county plates.
"We think this fight was probably scheduled to go down somewhere else but for whatever reason they moved it," Nichols said. "How they picked Newton, we don't know."
The single-story rural house had been a church at one time. It was converted to a residence and belonged to an elderly woman who died some time ago.
A second woman closed on the house Wednesday and was renovating it, officials said.
Some had posted bond Sunday; others were still being detained at the county jail.
Thirteen pit bulls recovered from the house were placed with county animal control.
Compiled from reports from The Associated Press and the Thomaston Times/Upson County Neighbors.