- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 2, 2020

DUBLIN, Ga. (AP) - Seven men have been indicted after a dog fight in middle Georgia was broken up in March 2018.

The federal prosecutors said the owner of the fighting site and five people accused of participating have been charged with felonies.

The owner, 45-year-old James “Pookie” Lampkin of Eastman, is charged with conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act and 63 counts of possession and training a dog for animal fighting. That’s one count for each of the 63 dogs seized on his property. Each felony is punishable by up to five years in prison, although a person with no criminal history would likely be sentenced to less. Lampkin is also charged with a misdemeanor count of attending an animal fight.

Also charged with felonies are 40-year-old Benjamin Shinhoster of Augusta, 33-year-old Deveon Hood of Tennille, 34-year-old Xavier Simmons of Sandersville, 23-year-old Andre Archer of Sandersville and 32-year-old Joe Ford of Elgin, South Carolina. Charged with only a misdemeanor is 44-year-old Dwight McDuffie of Eastman.

It’s unclear if any of the men have lawyers representing them.

Officials identified the men while performing traffic stops after a dog fight was reported near Eastman. Officers found a dog in a vehicle that appeared to have been injured in a fight. The 63 dogs were seized at Lampkin’s house, found chained in the back yard.

All the dogs except one diagnosed with cancer were adopted after being legally seized.

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