Agencies probe drug, animal cruelty case in Meadville

by Sean Dunlap

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics are continuing their probe into an alleged Meadville drug case that has grown to include serious animal cruelty allegations.

Sheriff Tom Tindle confirmed that an investigation dating back to June involving the two law enforcement agencies — and a related search warrant — centered around an estimated 1,000 grams of marijuana at a location on Jones Street.

“With this situation where drugs were allegedly seized, we staked out the site and also witnessed a number of dogs — some of which were tied down and others appeared to be injured or dead in the yard,” Tindle said.

“Out of diligence, a second search warrant was obtained where the animals were concerned and what we found was horrible to say the least.”

The sheriff noted two animal control officers from Brookhaven as well as a local veterinarian helped his office and MBN respond to the dog situation.

“Those dogs that could be rescued were sent to a facility in Vicksburg because we don’t have any type of shelter in our region that could have seen to the need of these kinds of distressed animals,” he continued.

“Some had to be destroyed due to the severity of their conditions while others had died and their bodies had deteriorated to the point that their flesh had rotted away from their bones.”

Tindle said the individual allegedly involved in the case — who had reportedly turned himself into authorities at press time, and who was not immediately identified by authorities — would likely face two counts of aggravated animal cruelty (dogfighting) locally.

In regards to the pending drug case, MBN has reportedly forwarded the marijuana allegedly recovered at the location to the Mississippi Crime Lab for analysis and possession with the intent to distribute charges tied to the illegal substance could be forthcoming, but had not yet been filed at press time.

“This was one of the most unusual situations I’ve run across in Franklin County, and we’re working under the premise that more arrests could be forthcoming as this investigation continues,” the sheriff went on to say.

Authorities also confiscated three treadmills — two manual devices and one motorized unit — that Tindle alleges were used to “exercise” the dogs that were seized from the property.

“We have taken those as evidence in the case and have contacted state authorities about them,” Tindle said.

The sheriff said his department’s investigation into the animal situation centers around whether or not the dogs had been used in a dogfighting operation locally or elsewhere in Southwest Mississippi.

“We always encourage the public to contact us with information when they have details about illegal activities in the community,” he continued.

“We greatly appreciate all the help we’ve received over the last several weeks — especially from other law enforcement and animal rescue agencies — in dealing with this matter.”