Operators of Georgia dogfighting facility plead guilty

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Two dogs fighting with each other
Photo by Zuzule on Deposit Photos

The operator of an illegal dogfighting facility broken up in Dodge County three years ago has pleaded guilty in federal court.

James Lampkin, 46, of Eastman, is awaiting sentencing after admitting to a charge of conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act, said David H. Estes, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

Lampkin faces up to five years in prison, along with substantial fines and up to three years of supervised release upon completion of any prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Animal fighting is cruel and barbaric, and has no place in our society,” Estes said. “Our vigilant law enforcement partners shut down Lampkin’s brutal operation and rescued dozens of animals from a life of pain and misery.”

“This investigation and prosecution should send a strong zero-tolerance message to those individuals involved in the inhumane torture of animals for the purpose of entertainment,” added Jason Williams, special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General. “We appreciate the partnership with our law enforcement partners in pursuing these purveyors of death and senseless suffering.”

Five co-defendants in the case pleaded guilty to related federal charges and await sentencing in federal court. The list includes Benjamin Shinholster III, 41, of Augusta; Deveon Hood, 34, of Tennille; Andre Archer, 23, of Sandersville; Xavier Simmons, 34, also of Sandersville; and Joe Ford, 33, of Elgin, S.C.

A remaining co-defendant, Dwight McDuffie, 44, of Eastman, pleaded guilty to attending a dogfight, a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to two years of probation, 150 hours of community service, and was prohibited from owning animals.

In March 2018, Georgia State Patrol troopers and state Department of Natural Resources game wardens conducted traffic stops in Eastman after receiving reports of a dogfighting operation at Lampkin’s property.

During those stops, officers discovered a dog in one of the vehicles that appeared to have been injured while fighting.

Investigators later seized 63 dogs at Lampkin’s home while serving a search warrant after finding the animals chained in the back yard. Investigators also discovered a disassembled pit where fights were held, and equipment used to train dogs for fighting.

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