Three Arrested in Connection with Dog-fighting Ring
The Richland County Sheriff's Department is looking for homes for the 24 pit bulls.
Deputies arrested three people in connection with a dog-fighting ring in Richland County.
Stanley Taylor, 23, was charged with two counts of felony dog fighting. Jolisa Cole, 20, was charged with knowingly attending a dog fight. Santerrio Smith, 23, was charged with two counts of attempted murder.
"These people are involved in other crimes," said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. "These are not your normal church-going people."
Taylor and Cole are out of jail on bond, according to the sheriff's department.
Deputies responded to a complaint on Sept. 8 about dogs barking in the woods at 647 Camp Ground Road. When they arrived, they saw several chained dogs and found evidence of mistreatment.
Deputies arrested Taylor at the scene. Smith and Cole tried to flee in a vehicle. Deputies ordered them to get out of the vehicle, but Smith attempted to run over the officers and flee from the scene, according to the sheriff's department.
The Fugitive Task Force arrested Smith and Cole after finding them in a ditch beside the Days Inn on Plumbers Road on Sept. 23.
Smith was out of jail on a $150,000 bond for another unrelated murder charge. He is now being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
The 24 dogs rescued from the dog fighting site were awarded to the state during a magistrate court hearing. They are in the care of the sheriff's department.
The dogs were tied to trees with 15-pound chains, Lott said. Dragging the heavy chains gave the dogs more upper-body strength and better prepared them for fights.
"These dogs aren't born mean," Lott said. "They train them to be mean. Once they lose, they kill them. They don't want a dog that loses."
All of the dogs have been checked by a veterinarian and are in good health, Lott said. Pawmetto Life Line is helping the sheriff's department find foster homes for the pit bulls while the case is under investigation.
"These dogs can be rehabilitated. Some of them are still puppies," Lott said. "We need to find homes for these dogs."
Anyone interested in fostering a dog can call Pawmetto Life Line at 803-622-4748.