Mississippi man arrested after deputy uncovers alleged dog fighting operation. Nearly 30 dogs in various states of health rescued.

Published 8:38 am Monday, December 4, 2023

One Mississippi man is under arrest after nearly 30 dogs were found in various states health, all believed to be part of a dog fighting operation.

According to the Panola County Sheriff’s Office, dispatchers received at a 911 hang-up call at 7:05 p.m. on Dec. 2, from 256 Rayburn Road, west of Como.

A deputy with the Panola County Sheriff’s Office responded to the address and encountered a large mass of people at this address.

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When the deputy arrived, the people fled in multiple vehicles, many identified as being from other counties and out of state.

The deputy was able to determine that a dogfight was taking place at the address, according to a PCSO release.

The deputy requested backup and was able to secure the scene.

During the investigation, a total of 29 dogs, in various stages of health, many of them with scars from previous fights, were seized by the Panola County Sheriff’s Office. Officials from PCSO are working to ensure that the dogs get the best available care.

Thirteen vehicles were also seized at the scene.

Damien Jay Smoot, 37, of Como was arrested. PCSO officials report that Smoot is the owner of the house where the alleged operation was taking place.

Smoot has been charged with dog fighting, a felony.

Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy, said he applauds the PCSO for cracking down on the dogfighting operation.

“Dogfighting is one of the most despicable crimes, and whenever it’s uncovered, people rightly ask how anyone could be so cruel and ruthless,” Pacelle said. “Only with this kind of strenuous enforcement will we see the demise of dogfighting in our nation.”

PCSO continues to investigate and reports that more arrests are expected.