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Authorities bust possible dog fighting operation

By: Tamara Evans Email
By: Tamara Evans Email

A disturbing find for sheriff's deputies in one central Kentucky county, as they were trying to serve a warrant.

The Jessamine County deputies say they found what appeared to be a dog fighting operation.

They say some of the dogs were malnourished, and others bore scars from fighting.

At least 10 counts of animal cruelty were filed in the case Thursday, with possibly more charges to come. They are charging the homeowner, 40-year-old Marty Stevens, with the crime.

The Jessamine County Sheriff's Department initially went to Marty Stevens' home on Kissing Ridge Road Wednesday to serve an arrest warrant when they noticed the dogs. Stevens was wanted in Garrard County for a burglary charge.

Stevens wasn't there at the time, but deputies say two other men, 21-year-old Richard Hall and 36-year-old Robert Cuzick, were. The two men also had warrants out on them for unrelated charges. Deputies arrested Hall and Cuzick.

Deputies say the dogs included 11 pit bulls, some chihuahua mix dogs, some puppies, and a Jack Russell terrier.

Investigators say some of the dogs even had parasites on them. They also found a puppy that had died.

Deputies say it appears the dogs were being conditioned for dog fighting, but that is still under investigation.

They immediately took the dogs to a vet for help. The dogs were then taken to the Jessamine County Save Center, where they're now being held.

Officials say the dogs were not in good health when they were found.

"We use a body conditioning score, one being the worst, nine being the best," Animal Control Officer Frank Ruggiero said. "Ten out of the 17 scored three or less, which is pretty bad."

The dogs are scheduled at the shelter, where the public does not have access to them.

They are not available to be adopted out at this time, and officials say it will be some time before that's possible.

The Save Center is now asking for the public's help.

With the 17 dogs brought in Wednesday, the shelter is now over capacity. They are hoping people will come in to adopt other pets that they have. They are also in need of canned food for the 17 dogs.

"They're in such bad shape that they need canned food in addition to the dry food we provide. I don't have canned food on hand to feed 17 dogs, so I could really use donations of canned food," says Jenise Smith, the Director of the Jessamine County SAVE Center.

Police say they are still looking for Marty Stevens, the owner of the home.

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