Two men face dogfighting charges after Missouri raid

Thursday, July 8, 2010 | 1:58 p.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — Authorities seized 15 dogs from a southwestern Missouri property and brought dogfighting charges against two men, including one who lived there.

The raid on Wednesday near Lampe in Stone County followed a seven-month investigation, the Humane Society of Missouri said.

Authorities arrested Jon P. Stingley, 42, who lives at the residence, and Keith Owens, 41, of Blue Eye, Mo. Both were charged with felony dogfighting and jailed on $25,000 bond.

Neither man had a listed attorney, and Stingley didn't have a listed phone number. A phone message left at Owens' home was not immediately returned, and jail officials did not immediately respond to a request to interview the men.

The Humane Society said it rescued seven adult pit bulls and eight puppies from the property. A spokesman said many of the adult dogs had old and new wounds, and most were attached to heavy log chains with thick collars.

Stone County Sheriff Richard Hill said documents were also seized indicating that dogfighting took place at the property.

The owner voluntarily surrendered the dogs. The dogs were taken to the Humane Society facility in St. Louis for treatment, with the goal of eventually placing them up for adoption.

"We are committed to working with law enforcement to eliminate the brutal and illegal dogfighting activities throughout Missouri," said Debbie Hill, vice president of operations for the Humane Society of Missouri.

The dogs were found on a wooded hillside, out of view. The Humane Society said the property included several abandoned trucks, dilapidated buildings and trash.

The rescue came on the one-year anniversary of the largest dogfighting raid in U.S. history, when 26 suspects were arrested and more than 500 dogs seized in a series of raids in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. Animal advocates have said 160 of the dogs were euthanized because of injuries, illness or behavior that made them unacceptable for adoption.

So far, 17 defendants have pleaded guilty in that case and been sentenced to federal prison, the Humane Society said.

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