More than two dozen dogs that were rescued from a home dog-fighting operation on Thursday are continuing to be treated, officials say.
A veterinarian had examined all 27 dogs, which appeared to all be pit bulls and pit bull mixes, by Friday evening. Some have serious injuries, but all had survived through Friday, according to Adrienne Sarvis, public information officer for the Sumter County Sheriff's Office. Some are receptive to human attention, even wagging their tails despite the situation from which they came. Others are withdrawn.
Deputies were serving an outstanding bench warrant for failure to pay child support at the Lowder Road home of 38-year-old Alva T. Ridgeway when they observed a dog-fighting pit with possible animal blood on the walls and equipment typically used in dog-fighting operations, as was previously reported in The Sumter Item. Deputies also reported they heard "numerous dogs" barking behind the residence.
When deputies obtained a search warrant, they found dogs with logging chains hanging from their necks, many with injuries or scars "consistent with dog fighting, and many looked emaciated." Equipment used to force breeding in dogs was also found at the residence.
Ridgeway awaits a bond hearing in the Sumter County Sheriff's Office Detention Center.
Sarvis said the sheriff's office is still investigating the case and that more information about the dogs will likely be released next week. She said they may reach the point where they can show photos of the individual dogs next week, as well, in case some are missing pets.
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