Stolen dog seized during cockfighting raid reunited with owner

A pit bull seized during a cockfighting ring bust last Saturday in Marlboro County was stolen more than a year ago and was reunited with its owner on Tuesday, according to Jennifer Hyduke with the Humane Society of Marlboro County.

The emaciated dog was confiscated, along with her 10 puppies, during the bust and taken to the Humane Society.

Hyduke said the owner of the dog, April Morris, contacted her Tuesday after seeing a picture of the pit bull.

Morris said she thought she would never see her dog again.

"It seems so surreal to us. It's such a miracle to have her back," Morris said.

She said her pit bull, Nina Louise, was stolen from her home on Red Hill Road in Bennettsville on December 27, 2013.

Morris said she put out flyers looking for the dog and even offered a $500 reward.

She said she had given up hope until she saw a picture of Nina Louise.

When Nina Louise saw Morris and her family, she started wagging her tail and ran straight to them, Morris said.

She added they're feeding the dog and giving her tender, loving care to nurse her back to good health.

Morris said it's believed Nina Louise was being used as a bait dog for dogfighting and had only been fed corn and feed for roosters and chickens.

Deputies with the Marlboro County Sheriff's Office said this dog wasn't involved in any dog fighting the night of the raid, but was on the property and appeared to be in bad shape and that's why it and the puppies were seized.

Deputies arrested 27 people on various cockfighting charges during the bust. They've bonded out of jail and are waiting for their cases to be heard in court.

Hyduke said Morris has custody of the 10 puppies because they're still nursing. She said they've found homes for the pups and will move them once they are weaned.