Eight arrested in dog fighting bust in Florence County

Deputies in Florence County arrested eight men Saturday in a dog fighting bust near Effingham.

Around 6 a.m., authorities went to a vacant lot on Heyward Road where a fight was getting ready to take place at a temporary fighting ring, according to investigators.

The suspects ran off but were quickly caught in nearby woods and fields and taken into custody by deputies, according to a release from sheriff's office spokesman Mike Nunn.

Investigators also seized four vehicles, three firearms, a quantity of powder cocaine, marijuana, and cash.

Benjamin Harrison, 38, Daniel Parks, 34, George McCall, 36, Harold Small, 35, Brandon Williams, 32, Rodney Cooper, 33, Edward Windham, 32, Walter Taylor, 59, all of Florence County, were arrested. Each face a charge of violating the Animal Fighting and Baiting Act.

Deputies found two pit bulls during the bust. One got away. The other is suffering from a broken leg and other injuries, according to Herbie Christmas, with the Florence County Environmental Services.

"He's obviously got some injuries to his right front leg that's probably pretty substantial. We're going to be taking him to one of our local vets. He's obviously got some lacerations contusions to his head, front leg is typically what we see when we have dog fights," said Herbie Christmas.

Christmas says the dog appears to be friendly and has given them no trouble.

Search warrants connected to the incident are being sought and additional charges and arrests are possible.