A police officer in South Carolina has been recognized for her role in helping to break up a dog fighting ring. Misty Gore is a Lance Corporal with the Horry County Police Department who received the 2019 Humane Law Enforcement Award. She was chosen for the award by the Humane Society of the United States. Lance Corporal Gore was responding to an address is Aynor when she discovered that eighteen dogs were being kept at the property. It was immediately obvious that all the dogs had injuries and they were all tied up in the garden. On closer inspection it became apparent that these injuries were consistent with dog fighting.
The dogs were all removed from the property and taken to a rescue center where they could be treated for their injuries. Multiple people were arrested for their roles in the dog fighting ring and this meant that the entire operation was able to be shut down. No details have been revealed about why officers attended the house in the first place. It may have been the case that the occupants were suspected of another crime when evidence of the dog fighting ring was discovered.
Dog fighting is often linked with other forms of criminal activity. One Green Planet lists drug possession, theft, illegal gambling and even homicide as some of these crimes. However, the type of people that are involved with dog fighting are often not people you would associate with a criminal lifestyle. They can have jobs such as teachers, lawyers and judges and people from all these professions have been arrested in the past.
The main issue that people have with dog fighting, however, comes from the cruel treatment that the dogs receive. The dogs are often forced to fight to the death, and the dog that wins will usually be required to fight again in a short space of time. When they are not fighting they are often kept indoors in small cages. Some of the injuries that a dog can receive when fighting can be quite horrific, and it must have been a disturbing scene that Misty was presented with when she found the dogs.
Misty was presented with her award by the Governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster. Several representatives of the National Sheriff’s Association were also present at the ceremony. The award was presented to Misty at the State House and her colleagues from the Horry Police Department were all there to celebrate with her. The award was presented on Humane Lobby Day at the statehouse. This is an event where proposed animal welfare bills can be discussed by advocates with the lawmakers from their state. The events are often well attended because the Humane Society encourages advocates to bring friends and family with them. This helps to show the lawmakers that people care passionately about the causes that they are discussing.
The Horry Police Department were understandably very proud of Misty, and they publicly congratulated her on their Facebook page. The department posted several photos that were taken at the event, including one of Misty’s socks. She had chosen socks with animal paw prints on them, although they could not be seen underneath her trousers. However, she was happy to pose for a photo with her trouser leg raised. Misty is an animal lover herself and so it was very upsetting for her to see the dogs in the condition which they were found.
The Facebook post got many comments from members of the public who also wanted to offer their thanks to Misty. The post has also been liked more than three hundred times. Although she is proud to have been given this award and she is grateful to all the people who have taken the time to comment, she feels she was only doing her job. The fact that the dogs are now safe is the most important thing to come out of this case.
Governor Henry McMaster also took to social media to offer his congratulations to Misty. He tweeted that he was proud to be asked by The Humane Society to present the award. He also describes animal cruelty as a scourge to South Carolina and so he was happy to support the work of the police in reducing occurrences of this in the state.
The people who were arrested at the house should go on trial in March. Horry County Police Department were able to collect a lot of evidence from the house. The officers who attended the scene will also be able to testify about the things that they saw. There had been an investigation into the people who lived at the property before the police attended the home and all of this evidence will be presented to the court with the hope of securing a conviction.
The Humane Society has provided training to police officers to recognize situations where there is the potential for animals to be in danger. Dangerous situations may not be immediately obvious and sometimes officers need to look at the bigger picture. The Humane Society has a unique insight into the different types of abuse that animals can receive, and this makes the classes that they give invaluable to officers. The Humane Society know that police officers can sometimes come across situations that members of the general public would not, and so it is important that they know what to look out for.
Misty told WPDE that she credits these classes with making her aware that something could be wrong when she first came across the dogs tied up at the house. She believed that there must have been a reason why they were all tied up and this suspicion turned out to be correct. The fact that there were a large number of dogs was suspicious in this case, but this is not something that is always consistent. There have been times when only one or two dogs have been found and this is where officers would need to look at the bigger picture.