Welfare check leads to dog fighting arrest - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Welfare check leads to dog fighting arrest

Benji Branham is charged with dog fighting and related conduct as well as cruelty to animals. Benji Branham is charged with dog fighting and related conduct as well as cruelty to animals.
Ed Williams Ed Williams
Animal Control officers arrived at this home to conduct a welfare check. Animal Control officers arrived at this home to conduct a welfare check.
Major Eric Hampton Major Eric Hampton
THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -

A Thomasville man is out of jail on bond after police believe he may have been training several dogs for fighting.

Eight dogs and one cat were seized by police Friday after Animal Control Officers were doing a welfare check at a home.

But it's what officers noticed that prompted them to notify police.

The welfare check at a home on Stevens Street quickly turned into an investigation to possible dog fighting.

“It's very sad.  It's very sad on several levels,” said Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society Executive Director Ed Williams.

According to the police report, Animal Control officers arrived at the home to check up on the animals, due to having several open cases.

While there, the officers reported finding a treadmill and a swim tank.

“It happens much more than we would certainly like it to, but the challenge is always finding it,” said Williams.
 
Williams said the Animal Control officers never saw the paraphernalia during other checks on the home.

“And this time, fortunately it was.  Our officers backed off and called the police department,” he said.

Police secured a search warrant and the animals were then transported to the Humane Society.
 
“At that time, Mr. Benji Branham, who was the homeowner there, was arrested for dog fighting and cruelty to animals,” said Major Eric Hampton with the Thomasville Police Department.

Although Williams said most of the animals were healthy, some were so aggressive that they must be isolated from other animals.

“I think it's very sad when people use animals this way,” said Williams.  “It's animal cruelty at its highest.”

The animals remain at the Humane Society.

Branham was released from jail on a $2,600 bond. 

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