At least 200 people were attending a dogfight in a rural Benton County, Mississippi barn when state and federal officers raided the location this past weekend. About 26 dogs were rescued and 50 people arrested on the scene.
Marshall County Sheriff Kenny Dickerson said shots were fired when they arrived but authorities did not return fire and no one was hurt.
Authorities are looking for other people who fled through the fields leaving behind their cars. Attendees paid $100 to attend the fight and many cars had plates from out-of-state including California, Florida, New Hampshire.
Officials told the Associated Press that the arrests were the culmination of monthslong, nationwide investigation involving federal, state and local agencies.
The event was said to be one of the biggest annual dogfights in the US.
"This is one of the all-star fights in the United States for dogfighting," Dickerson said. He said that between $50,000 and $100,000 in cash was recovered and the event could have generated several hundred thousand dollars, according to the Huffington Post.
All those in custody face a State charge of dog fighting, which carries a fine up to $5,000 or a maximum three years in the state pen, or both.
“We are pleased that our cooperative efforts in Mississippi resulted in the bust of a massive dogfight in progress and allowed us to rescue these dogs,” said the Humane Society of the United States’ Chris Schindler. "Hopefully it’s going to send a message that this activity is not tolerated,” he told WREG. He said that the bust is nationally significant. He said he will try to place the 26 dogs in homes where they will be loved.
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