Laurel man charged with felony dog fighting, child endangerment

Laurel man charged with felony dog fighting, child endangerment
Source: Southern Cross Animal Rescue
Source: Southern Cross Animal Rescue
Source: Southern Cross Animal Rescue
Push Seaberry. Source: Jones County Sheriff's Department.
Push Seaberry. Source: Jones County Sheriff's Department.

JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A Laurel man is facing two felony charges after investigators recovered a dog fighting operation Friday.

Push Seaberry, 31, is charged with felony dog fighting, child endangerment and animal cruelty.  Jones County Circuit Judge David Lyons set a bond of $35,000 for Seaberry Sunday.

According to the Jones County Sheriff's Department, deputies responded to a wooded area at the back of a mobile home park on Rose Lane in the Calhoun community after information from a concerned citizen about several abused and malnourished dogs.

"It was terrible," said Heather Williams with Southern Cross Animal Rescue.  "These dogs chained to trees or stumps, they are all twisted and tangled up. Skinny, various puncture wounds, it was pretty disheartening."

Officials said nine dogs were tied to trees without food, water or shelter.  Upon further investigation, several dogs also had wounds consistent with dog fighting.

Sergeant Scott Gable with the Jones County Sheriff's Department said a search warrant was conducted at a nearby mobile home where several videos of dog fighting were recovered.  In one of those videos, a three-year-old was feet away from fighting.

"It's very disturbing, especially when you have a three-year-old standing next to the dogs fighting and they are just a couple of feet from each other," said Gable.  "That to me was very disturbing, it's almost hard to watch, it's hard to watch the video to see this kind of behavior going on."

A total of eleven dogs were rescued, including a pregnant dog who gave birth Saturday evening.  Sgt. Gable said if the videos were not discovered, with the suspect in them, he would not have been able to file the felony charges.

Williams said unfortunately, this scene is not unusual in Jones County.

"We get people telling us that dog fighting is going on all the time," said Williams.  "We see these conditions frequently, but to be able to have evidence secured that can allow them to charge felony charges is unusual."

Williams said she is thankful for the investigators who continue to work on this case, as well as the concerned citizen who contacted the Jones County Sheriff's Department.

"This citizen that actually came forward and was brave enough to get law enforcement involved, we need that more often," Williams said.  "We would see felony charges more often if people had the guts to come forward."

Seaberry told Judge Lyons he did not have a job and had been pulled from disability.  When asked by reporters if he made money off the dogs, Seaberry replied, "No sir."

Sgt. Gable said investigators are in the process of identifying additional suspects and more arrests are expected.

"If anybody's involved in this, they need to just turn themselves in because we are going to get to the bottom of this, we are going to find out every individual that's doing this," said Gable.

If you have any information that may help investigators, please contact the Jones County Sheriff's Department at (601) 425-3147.