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Sheriff Among Those Charged in Deadly Dogfight

May 24, 1994

BASTROP, Texas (AP) _ A sheriff and 23 other people were arrested in connection with a dogfight that left one pit bull so badly injured it had to be destroyed.

Officers were responding to a report of trespassing late Saturday when they came upon the dogfight on the outskirts of town, said Capt. Charlie R. Littleton of the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Department.

″It was dark. There was just a light over the pit area and we could see about 50 people sitting and standing around,″ he said.

The dogs fought in a plywood pen that was 20-feet square and 2-feet tall, he said. A bloodstained carpet in the middle could be rolled up, he said. Bastrop is about 30 miles southeast of Austin.

Five male pit bulls were recovered. One suffered kidney failure from severe wounds and had to be put to sleep, said Dr. Boerne Whitworth of the Bastrop Veterinary Hospital.

The spectators came from Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, Littleton said. Names and specific charges were not available for all the defendants Monday.

Among those charged was Kinney County Sheriff Norman Hooten of Brackettville, about 200 miles away. He pleaded innocent to being a spectator at a dogfight, an offense punishable by a maximum $500 fine. He was released on $2,500 bond.

He first told reporters he was not at the dogfight. Later, he said he thought the event was a dog show and that he left when the fights started.

He said he didn’t stop the fights or notify authorities because he was out of his jurisdiction.

The others were arrested on various charges, including trespassing, attending a dogfight, and organized criminal activity for betting on the fights, Littleton said.

Whitworth said the sheriff’s department will decide whether the dogs will be destroyed. She said she didn’t think they were adoptable.

″It takes two people to walk these dogs through the kennel because they try to attack the other dogs,″ she said.

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