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TX: Texarkana dogfight trial is set for Feb. 26

Discussion in 'Pit Bull News' started by Vicki, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Staff Member

    Texarkana dogfight trial is set for Feb. 26

    This article was published February 12, 2018 at 1:00 a.m.

    TEXARKANA — A man accused of illegal dogfighting and aggravated animal cruelty is to face a Miller County jury later this month.

    Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell on Wednesday amended the charges pending against Christopher Tremayne Harper, 27, to include a habitual-offender allegation because of a prior felony conviction. Harper’s 2013 conviction for delivery of a controlled substance in Lafayette County allows for enhancement of the maximum punishment Harper faces on each of the Miller County charges from six to 12 years in prison.

    Animal-control officers received a report about 1 p.m. Jan. 13, 2017, from Miller County dispatchers regarding people holding dogfights on East 11th Street, according to a probable-cause affidavit. Officers made contact with two men at East 11th and Louisiana streets. One of the men was in possession of a red brindle pit bull with “ears cut back all the way to its head.”

    Cutting the ears off of a dog is a practice among dogfighting owners who don’t want other dogs to latch onto an ear during a fight. The dog’s owner, who according to the affidavit identified himself as Jeremy Brooks but was later identified as Harper, claimed he bought the dog with its ears already removed. The dog yelped when touched on the side of the face, and the owner was given until Jan. 17, 2017, to take the dog to a veterinarian for treatment.

    Less than an hour later, officers were dispatched to a home in the 2600 block of East 10th regarding dogfighting. Officers observed a large bottle of hydrogen peroxide in the rafters beneath the home’s porch canopy, “which is consistent with people who regularly fight dogs,” the affidavit said.

    A woman approached the officers and began shouting at them and using profanity, according to the affidavit. The woman told investigators the dogs belonged to her son, Jaquavian Johnson.

    Johnson denied his dogs had been fighting, but a white pit bull in his backyard had “bloody punctures on his abdomen, side, back and chest as well as a swollen right cheek and gum on his right muzzle,” the affidavit said. According to the affidavit, the dog with the cut ears had not been taken for treatment as of Feb. 1, 2017.

    The dogs were seized, and Harper and Johnson were arrested. Johnson pleaded guilty last year to unlawful dogfighting. As part of a plea bargain, Johnson was ordered to serve a five-year term of probation and agreed to forfeit his ownership of any of the abused canines. He was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and more than $5,000 in restitution to the Animal Care and Adoption Center for boarding and veterinary expenses. He is prohibited from owning an animal while on probation.

    Harper’s case is scheduled for jury selection Feb. 26 before Circuit Judge Carlton Jones.


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