Atlanta, Georgia - The last four of 12 defendants convicted on federal dog fighting charges were sentenced today in Albany, Georgia, by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. Collectively, the court sentenced the defendants to a total of 272 months in prison.
On June 22, a federal jury convicted defendant Kizzy Solomon, 44, of Camilla, Georgia, of 15 counts of aiding and abetting the possession and training of dogs for purposes of an animal fighting venture. Eleven other defendants previously pleaded guilty to various offenses related to their participation in a dog fighting ring.
“The injuries that dogs suffer in fights are horrible enough, but this case shows how the cruelty of the dog fighting industry goes far beyond the fighting pit,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We will continue to vigorously prosecute those who engage in these crimes.”
“Dog-fighting is vicious and illegal; it is also a breeding ground for other dangerous criminal activity that undermines the safety of our communities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary for the Middle District of Georgia. “Our office will not tolerate dog-fighting; we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold offenders accountable with federal prosecution.”
“The cruelty exhibited by these individuals has left a stain on the human psyche of our civilization” said Special Agent in Charge Jason Williams of the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General (USDA-OIG). “This collaborative effort with our local and federal partners demonstrates that wherever you are, you will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
The individual prison sentences imposed by the court are:
- Germany Brockington, 34, of Ambrose, Georgia – 7 months
- Kevin Charles, also known as “Trinidad,” 45, of Jackson, Georgia – 18 months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release
- Terry Driggers, 71, of Hoboken, Georgia – time served (a period of approximately 17 months)
- Kentre Gibson, 40, of Douglas, Georgia – 21 months
- Maurice Glover, 48, of Douglas, Georgia – 12 months
- Orlando Johnson, 35, of Americus, Georgia –30 months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release
- Shadon Johnson, 37, of Fitzgerald, Georgia – 2 years of probation
- Alonza Jordan, 48, of Americus, Georgia – 7 months
- Leslie Meyers, also known as Les Meyers, 44, of Tallahassee, Florida – 123 months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release (upward departure to statutory maximum of 60 months on each of 4 dog fighting charges, to run concurrent to one another and consecutive to 63 months sentence on firearm)
- Starlin Morgan, 39, of Plains, Georgia – 11 months
- Kizzy Solomon, also known as Kizzy Andrews, 44, of Tallahassee, Florida – 30 months
- Timothy White, 51, of Patterson, Georgia – 11 months
Defendants Brockington, Shadon Johnson and Jordan had been convicted of knowingly spectating at a dog fight, a misdemeanor offense. The other defendants were convicted of felony violations of the Animal Welfare Act and/or felony conspiracy to commit the same. Defendant Meyers had also pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of a handgun by a person with a prior felony conviction. Meyers had brought a pistol to a dog fight.
This case was based largely on a “two-card” dog fight in Sumter County, Georgia, that was disrupted by law enforcement while in progress on Jan. 21, 2017. According to court documents, Defendant Meyers traveled to the event from Florida with a dog, whom he pitted in a fight against a dog handled by Defendant White.
Meyers’s dog was declared the winner of the dog fight, but refused to complete a “courtesy scratch” – a macabre dog fighting ritual in which a dog who has already won is taken back to a corner of the ring and released one final time to attack the losing dog (or its dead body). The dog’s continuing willingness to attack garners extra prestige for the handler. After Meyers’s dog refused to complete the courtesy scratch, Meyers suffocated the dog to death by hanging him from a tree branch. Law enforcement found this dog’s body under the bumper of Meyers’s car. Authorities also came upon two other live dogs in the middle of a fight, one of which had extensive injuries and had to be euthanized. After most participants fled the scene, agents recovered several firearms and approximately $18,000 in U.S. currency.
Search warrants executed later at the residences of some of the defendants revealed dozens of pit bull-type dogs housed in conditions consistent with dog fighting. Many of these dogs were emaciated and/or had scarring or injuries. Authorities also seized dog fighting equipment, including injectable veterinary steroids and a dog treadmill on which various dogs’ fighting histories, including whether they had perished during dog fights, was printed.
The case was investigated by the USDA-OIG, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office and Decatur County Animal Control. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Crane for the Middle District of Georgia and Trial Attorney Ethan Eddy of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division prosecuted the case.