PIEDMONT, W.Va. — U.S. Attorney Bill Ihlenfeld said he is sickened by what a Mineral County man was doing to dogs.
The federal prosecutor said Timothy Stewart, 34, of Piedmont, has pleaded guilty to various charges after overseeing a dog fighting operation. Ihlenfeld said authorities discovered the misuse of animals when they were investigating Stewart back in October for selling crack cocaine.
Ihlenfeld said when officers searched his home they did not expect to find what they did.
“They found a number of dogs in deplorable conditions in cages in the basement and also dogs who were chained up outside of the house, treadmills used to train the dogs that they were chained to and had to run upon, weights were strapped to the dogs to increase their strength,” the U.S attorney said. “Probably the most sickening thing that was found were dog pelts, pelts that were cut from dogs that lost in fights.”
Stewart pleaded guilty this week in federal court in Martinsburg. Ihlenfeld predicts he’ll receive a long sentence in prison. He said the drug and firearms activities are serious offenses but it’s the abuse of the animals that makes him most upset.
“It sickens anyone who has any feeling in their hearts for animals be it cats, dogs, horses, anything else,” Ihlenfeld said.
According to officials with Mineral County Animal Control there were about seven dogs seized. The dogs were pit bulls ranging in ages from 1-3. Two were found outside the others were found in small kennels inside the home. All the dogs had to be euthanized.
Stewart pleaded guilty this week to possessing dogs for dog fighting, being a felon in possession of a firearm and conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. He faces up to 45 years in prison.