- Associated Press - Thursday, July 17, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A federal judge delayed sentencing in a high-stakes dog fighting case on Thursday, enabling prosecutors to describe more fully how nearly a dozen defendants treated some 400 dogs that were malnourished, scarred or held outdoors by heavy chains.

Some of the pit bulls had to be put down after they were seized because they had been so mistreated. Others were turned over to animal rights groups and put up for adoption. Dogs that refused to fight were usually killed, the undercover investigation found. Many survivors were heavily scarred.

Prosecutors said they couldn’t possibly do justice to the evidence in one day’s hearing on Aug. 12, so U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins in Montgomery scheduled three days of testimony Oct. 29-31 about the conditions of the dogs and each defendant’s involvement.

Most pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy or possessing fighting dogs, and face up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Federal, state and local police arrested 15 people after investigating four years of dog fighting in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. Most of the matches were held near Auburn in east Alabama. Each side often threw down $20,000 to $40,000 per match and more than $100,000 could change hands in a single night, an undercover officer testified.

Eleven defendants have pleaded guilty. A 12th has filed notice that he wants to plead guilty. Two others have applied for pretrial diversion, and a 15th defendant agreed to face state charges.

Scheduled for sentencing are six Alabamians: Donnie Anderson and Michael Martin of Auburn, Sandy Brown of Brownsville, Irkis Forrest of Theodore, Robin Stinson of Elba, William Antone Edwards of Brantley. The others are Larry Watford of Adel, Georgia, Edward Duckworth of Decatur, Ga., Ricky Van Le of Biloxi, Mississippi, Demontt Allen of Houston, Texas, and Jennifer Hayden McDonald of Fairburn, Georgia.

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