Dogfighting is cruel. It is wrong. And it is stupid. Most importantly, it is illegal. Those convicted of dogfighting face stiff fines and prison sentences.
The sordid issue of dogfighting was thrust back into the public’s conscience a few years ago when star football quarterback Michael Vick was sent to prison for running a dogfighting operation. He did his time and has made a somewhat successful comeback in the National Football League (although this season’s record of the Philadelphia Eagles might suggest otherwise).
Vick has also tried to spread the word to those who still think it’s OK to orchestrate dog fights. Dogfighting is no harmless diversion. It’s a cruel and sadistic blood sport that has been banned in most of the civilized world since the 19th century.
Unfortunately, it’s still going on in our very own region. The NET News Service reported last month three men have been arrested in connection with what investigators say was a major dogfighting ring in Kingsport.
Travis Trent, 41, of 1207 Imperial Drive, Kingsport, was charged with 16 counts of animal fighting. His father, Van Trent, 66, of the same address, faces 11 counts. Travis Trent’s cousin, Alex Thurston, 25, of 2308 Kings Bay Drive, Kingsport, is also charged with 13 counts of animal fighting.
Not surprisingly, a Sullivan County grand jury has also indicted the father and son on charges of aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect and aggravated child endangerment. Court records say the alleged incidents occurred between Nov. 26, 2009, and Aug. 31, 2010, and involved a child between 5 and 6 years of age.
We say those latter charges are not surprising because evidence shows that people who purposely neglect or abuse animals are prone to do the same to children and adult family members.