Three men plead guilty to dog fighting operation in Dodge County
EASTMAN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Three defendants admit to participating in a Dodge County dog-fighting operation dismantled in 2018.
Three of seven defendants in the case, appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr., on Wednesday.
Benjamin Shinhoster III, 41, of Augusta, pleaded guilty to Sponsoring and Exhibiting a Dog in an Animal Fighting Venture. Deveon Hood, 34, of Tennille, and Andre Archer, 23, of Sandersville pleaded guilty to Conspiracy.
The charges stem from an Eastman traffic stop where Georgia State Patrol troopers discovered an injured dog in the vehicle. This led to law enforcement seizing 63 dogs found chained in a backyard in Eastman on March 17, 2018.
“Along with our law enforcement partners, our office is committed to eradicating these animal fighting operations that are nothing more than organized contests of cruelty,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “Such barbaric activities will continue to find an intensely unwelcoming environment in the Southern District of Georgia.”
Sentencing dates for Shinhoster, Hood and Archer have not yet been set.
The lead defendant in the investigation, James Lampkin, 46, of Eastman, is awaiting trial on his felony charges of Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Welfare Act and 63 counts of Possessing and Training a Dog for Purposes of an Animal Fighting Venture.
The 63 dogs were discovered on Lampkin’s property. He is also charged with a misdemeanor of Attending an Animal Fighting Venture.
Others charged and awaiting further legal proceedings are:
- Xavier Simmons, 34, of Sandersville, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Welfare Act, and Attending an Animal Fighting Venture
- Joe Ford, 33, of Elgin, S.C., charged with Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Welfare Act, and Attending an Animal Fighting Venture
- Dwight McDuffie, 44, of Eastman, Ga., charged with Attending an Animal Fighting Venture
“This investigation and prosecution should send a strong zero-tolerance message to those individuals who traffic in inflicting pain and suffering on animals,” said Jason Williams, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General.
An animal rescue operation took custody of the dogs.