More local news on Pit Bulls except this time it includes a high-profile breeder.
http://www.charleston.net/stories/040904/loc 09dogfight.shtml

I copied the entire story below because the Post & Courier online requires you to register with them in order to view stories. Its harmless to do so, for those who want to read the article there, but I figured many would balk.

Tara
Story last updated at 9:33 a.m. Friday, April 9, 2004

Officials say top 'dog man' collared
Charges include animal fighting
BY GLENN SMITH
Of The Post and Courier Staff
Authorities say they have shut down a top figure in the nation's shadowy and illegal dog-fighting network after seizing dozens of pit bulls, weapons and other evidence from his Charleston County properties. David Tant, 56, of North Charles-ton is known internationally for the champion pit bulls he breeds, dogs that can fetch thousands of dollars each when sold. He has long been suspected of participating in blood sport contests as both a judge and the owner of participating dogs, authorities said.
"For years, he has been what they refer to in the business as a 'dog man,' the upper echelon of dog fighters," said Steve Stephenson, a Humane Society investigator and a member of the attorney general's dog-fighting task force. "He is a recognized referee of dog fights, and he had a grand champion, which means a dog that won five fights. He's probably made a mint from selling puppies of that dog."
Word of Tant's alleged involvement in the underground sport had circulated for years, Stephenson said. But dog fighters remain an elusive bunch who are adept at covering their tracks and hiding their activities from view, he said.
Tant's legal problems started Wednesday after a surveyor was shot by a booby-trap device while working near power lines that run through the suspect's 11-acre property on County Line Road near Ravenel. When surveyor Steven Baker tried to get a closer look at the barking dogs he heard, he struck a 66-foot trip wire and was blasted with birdshot. Investigators say the device was rigged to keep intruders away from Tant's breeding facility.

When Charleston County sheriff's deputies arrived, they found dozens of pit bulls scattered about the property. Some were caged and hidden from view by tall grass; others were in the surrounding woods, tethered to the ground with heavy chains, deputies said.
Investigators seized 47 dogs, caged treadmills, cattle prods, five more armed booby traps, assorted shotguns and hunting rifles, a bear trap, homemade gun silencers and other items, authorities said. Detectives also searched Tant's home on North Charleston's Dorsey Avenue and found additional evidence tying him to dog fighting, said sheriff's Capt. Dana Valentine. She declined to discuss specifics.
Deputies slapped Tant with 68 charges, ranging from animal fighting and cruelty to assault and battery with intent to kill and possession of destructive devices. Deputies requested a high bail, saying they have evidence that Tant has a considerable amount of money and international connections. Magistrate Jack Guedalia set his bail Thursday at $332,000.

Assisting with the investigation are the dog-fighting task force, the attorney general's office, the State Law Enforcement Division, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Tant, a burly man with a head of bushy white hair, appeared at the hearing in overalls and a T-shirt. He said nothing.
His lawyer, Mike Bosnak, said Tant's property is clearly marked with "No trespassing" signs, and he had told surveyors the day before that they were not welcome on his land. Bosnak said Tant had previous problems with thefts on the property.
Bosnak said it was too early to speak to the merits of the dog-fighting charges. When asked about his client's alleged status in the dog-fighting world, he said, "I have no knowledge of that."
"Dog men" are at the top of the dog-fighting hierarchy, participating in matches in which prize money can run up to $80,000 for a single contest, Stephenson said. They belong to a loyal, secretive fraternity whose members can often trace their involvement back for two or more generations, he said.

A small match might draw 10 people, while larger contests host as many as
40. The locations are often kept secret until the last minute. Authoritiesplanned to raid a match in the Columbia area last weekend, only to find the location had changed again. One fight that night netted someone a $40,000 prize, said Stephenson, who spoke to informants about the event. "They are just crafty, and they come up with great ways to hide huge operations," he said.
The Humane Society estimates 30,000 people across the nation participate in dog fighting, Stephenson said. South Carolina is a favorite spot because the state has a great deal of rural space, and breeders here have produced several winning blood lines, he said.
"I've heard this is the third best place in the country to fight because there are just so many champions," he said.
An Internet search uncovered numerous references to Tant on pit bull-related Web sites from the United States to Serbia. One site featured a prominent photograph of his grand champion dog, Yellow, and several writers posted messages praising his dogs. One writer credited Tant with using Yellow to establish "one of the most influential lines in the history of this breed." One of Tant's fliers bragged that Yellow had produced nine champions and two grand champions. He stated that he breeds for "gameness" first when producing his "show dogs."
"Tant is known to breed good fighting, good game dogs that will not quit in the pit," Stephenson said.
A puppy from a champion's line can fetch up to $1,500. Two-year-old dogs with some fighting experience go for up to $2,500, Stephenson said. This all came as news to Tant's neighbors on Dorsey Avenue, where he lives in a tidy brick ranch home bordered by a well-trimmed hedge and flowering azaleas. Neighbors said he was a pleasant man who kept to himself. They had never even seen a dog at his home.
"I'm shocked by this," said Barbara Yaddow, who lives next door to Tant. "I'd like to see him come back because he is a good neighbor." Scott Delles, who lives across the street, said he assumed Tant was retired and had recently come into some money after seeing him arrive home last weekend with a new Corvette. Sheriff's deputies seized that car, which they say was purchased with the proceeds of illegal activities.

For the time being, Tant's dogs are being cared for by the John Ancrum Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. SPCA Executive Director Alan Berger said it is too early to say what will become of the dogs.

Jim Southard, a volunteer veterinarian for the SPCA, said several dogs had damage to their necks from restraining collars and the heavy chains that held them. One dog had an open wound on its neck. Others had scarring that may be indicative of fighting or being poked with cattle prods, he said.

The dogs were apparently left tied up or caged day and night on the County Line Road property, Southard said.
If Tant posts bail, he will be under house arrest and subject to electronic monitoring. He also will be prohibited from owning a domestic animal, Guedalia said.
Guedalia said he was troubled by the potential danger the booby traps and unsupervised dogs posed to anyone who wandered onto Tant's property. "I just think it was a very dangerous situation, overall," he said. "I think it shows a wanton disregard for humans and animals."
I'm not sure what the punishment will be for Tant should he be proven guilty since his operation is so large. However the current state legislation regards dog fighting as a felony, punishable by 5 years in prison or $5,000 (up to the judge). Its also legally actionable to be found present at a dog fight, as a spectator.

Tara
More local news on Pit Bulls except this time it includes a high-profile breeder. http://www.charleston.net/stories/040904/loc 09dogfight.shtml

thanks for posting this, Tara. i'm always happy to see an old "dog man" go down.
-kelly
More local news on Pit Bulls except this time it includes a high-profile breeder. http://www.charleston.net/stories/040904/loc 09dogfight.shtml

thanks for posting this, Tara. i'm always happy to see an old "dog man"go down.

I knew of Tant's existence in my county but never put two & two together. I knew there was a large, highly-sought-after breeder of "extremely game" Pits & that his name was Tant but didn't realize it was the Tant. I should have. His lines are very sought after around here for gameness and I suspect they also make up much of the byb population. Last weekend alone there were 8 ads for Pit Bull puppies in Charleston. Today there were 5 which means tomorrow there'll likely be more. Many of them tend to tout Red Boy/Jocko & Jeep lines (Yellow is from a Redboy x Jocko breeding IIRC) as selling points although thankfully I've seen a decrease in using the word(s) "game" & "EXTREMELY game" in ads.
These lovers of Pit Bulls, the ones loving the history & keeping pit fighting & dogmen going strong, are not helping the breed much when they continue with illegal activity & then get busted with hordes of dogs. Nothing wrong with hordes if you can handle it but it just doesn't look good when you're a known dogman and have that many dogs on your premises & take such extreme measures to keep intruders out. I think that trying to cut out the fighting population factors into BSL sometimes and if these people aren't more careful, or don't stop (as I'd like to see happen), then my state may join the BSL bandwagon as a means of trying to stop the "sport" of dog fighting. That's something I'd like to see not happen.

Tara
These lovers of Pit Bulls, the ones loving the history & keeping pit fighting & dogmen going strong, are not ... bandwagon as a means of trying to stop the "sport"of dog fighting. That's something I'd like to see not happen.

there are a few cities in my state with BSL due to trying to stop dogfighting (and the drug trafficking that seems to go with it). but somehow i doubt it works. dogfighting is already illegal, so they obviously don't care about the law. i somehow doubt that banning the dogs would accomplish much either. it's kind of like gun control. you have to enforce the laws you already have, making more laws isn't going to change anything.

i hope some of the dogs are able to be rehomed.
-kelly
These lovers of Pit Bulls, the ones loving the history ... if you can handle it but it just doesn't look

of

dog fighting. That's something I'd like to see not happen.

there are a few cities in my state with BSL due to trying to stop dogfighting (and the drug trafficking ... already have, making more laws isn't going to changeanything. i hope some of the dogs are able to be rehomed.

I think it depends. If they aren't safe to have in the shelter then they obviously can't go to the shelter. There's so many of them too. I'm hoping some are co-owned and can be moved to the other owners. Finding a Pit Bull rescue in NC or SC is close to impossible and the couple of people who advertise doing it are always unable to take in more dogs. The JASPCA won't euthanize just because they're Pit Bulls nor will they make up excuses to euth. However these dogs may not be considered adoptable if they've had the ir fight drives honed and received little human socialization (hard to imagine they did if the article is correct in describing how they were kept).The shelter is a good one, well run, clean with fairly knowledgable people. The vet that gave a statement in the article, Dr. Southard, is the vet who did Pebbles' ACL surgery last year. So they have competent veterinary staff there as well (even though he's a private vet). In the end though, I think that unless a bunch of rescues come in from other states, these dogs will have nowhere to go.

There just aren't 30+ good no-current-pets homes in this county looking to adopt Pit Bulls. Particularly ones reputed to have a honed fight drive. Feel free to pass this on to your contacts so that other states' rescue can be made aware of the upcoming, potential situation for these dogs. It was posted to the SC list and if I don't see it on the NC one then I'll cross it to there.

Tara
Don't you think that, if some of these dogs were co-owned, the otherowners would be participants in illegal activity? I ... authorities will find out who the co-owners are and they will be under surveillance. What a sad mess. jav

Probably but if they're co-owned then that'll complicate matters legally which was my primary point. Secondly, while the other owners may also engage in dog-fighting, they would refrain from fighting those particular dogs if they have common sense. Having one of them turn up on the internet as a champion, or grand champion, in a year or two will certainly bring the police down on them. On the other hand, the co-owners, if they exist, are probably not likely to speak up and claim the dogs because it'll bring unwanted attention to them.
By the way, the latest news is that there's still no decision from a judge on awarding custody to the county. They are still the legal property of Tant at this time. Plans are, should the county gain custody, to euthanize the adults due to liability risks being too high. They can't guarantee that any home they, or any rescue, puts those dogs in will not be stupid and allow the dogs to escape, turn them into a shelter in another county/state, or eventually bring a new dog into the home. Basically it boils down to no one having much faith in the general public's ability to be responsible pet owners on this level and they've got reason to feel that way.
The puppies will not be euthanized. I don't know what is constituting a puppy right now, whether its just the obvious "puppies" or if they include dogs under 1 year of age. There's a huge waiting list for those pups (actually a waiting list for Pit puppies in general) so they won't be going to rescue. They will be placed through the shelter, into pre-screened homes (that will include a homevisit I believe), plus agree to periodic follow-ups on how the pups are doing.

They will be made to work with a behaviorist who has agreed to do the work pro-bono (from what I've heard) and will be made to obedience train the dogs (to a basic level) as part of the adoption contract. There will also be a mandatory return clause which prohibits the people from being able to have the dogs living anywhere other than with the adopters.

Tara