Four Convicted In Federal Dogfighting Case

March 5, 2020

A federal jury has convicted Shane Patrick Sprague, 35, of Pensacola of felony conspiracy to violate the dogfighting prohibitions of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

Co-defendants James “Tommy” Peek, 67, and Haley Cook Murph, 24, both of Milton, and David Lee Moser, 36, of Waynesboro, Tennessee, had previously pleaded guilty to seven federal felonies for their involvement with Sprague and others in a dogfighting operation centered in Pensacola. The jury acquitted co-defendant Derek Jedidiah Golson, 38, also of Pensacola.

Evidence at trial, along with admissions made by the pleading defendants in conjunction with their plea agreements, established that Sprague operated C Wood Kennels, a dogfighting operation that arranged dogfights and trafficked in fighting dogs with Moser and others outside of Florida. Moser admitted that he and Sprague agreed to fight their dogs against one another and to prepare a dog for a dogfight, and that they had discussed concealing evidence that one of Moser’s dogs had killed another dog.

Murph pleaded guilty to unlawfully conspiring with the co-defendants to violate the dogfighting prohibitions of the federal Animal Welfare Act, traveling to Steele, Alabama, to purchase a fighting dog from a known dogfighter, and possessing that dog for purposes of using the dog in an animal fighting venture. Peek pleaded guilty to unlawfully conspiring with the co-defendants to violate the dogfighting prohibitions of the federal Animal Welfare Act, delivering a dog to defendant Sprague for purposes of having the dog participate in an animal fighting venture, and possessing a dog for purposes of having the dog participate in an animal fighting venture. Moser pleaded guilty to conspiring with the co-defendants to violate the dogfighting prohibitions of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

Each of the eight counts of conviction in the case carries a maximum of five years in prison and a criminal fine of up to $250,000.

Peek was one of the sources of supply of fighting dogs to C Wood Kennels. He admitted to having sold dogs to Sprague, believing that the dogs would be used for fighting purposes. He also admitted to having sold a dog to an undercover agent after making representations about the fighting “bloodlines” as well as prior and upcoming dogfights of some of the dogs on his yard.

Murph’s role was that of a makeshift “veterinarian” for C Wood Kennels. Although Murph at no time possessed a veterinary license, she admitted to offering and performing veterinary and surgical procedures on dogs belonging to members of the conspiracy, including by treating dogs injured in a dogfight and by surgically removing dogs’ ears, including for the purpose of dogfighting. Two dogs in her “care” died from their fighting injuries. Murph also admitted to supplying a “bait” animal to test the fighting abilities of one of the co-defendant’s dogs. Finally, Murph admitted to traveling to Alabama on two occasions to receive dogs from a known dogfighter, and to keeping one of the dogs for herself for the purposes of having the dog participate in an animal fighting venture.

“These barbaric acts of animal cruelty have no place in a civilized society, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will pursue and prosecute these criminals to the fullest extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney Lawrence Keefe of the Northern District of Florida. “Societies are measured in part by how well they treat their domestic animals, and these defendants failed that test miserably – and now will pay the consequences.”

“The provisions of the Animal Welfare Act were designed to protect animals from being used in illegal fighting ventures, which often entail other forms of criminal activity involving drugs, firearms and gambling,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Jason M. Williams of the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General. “Together with the Department of Justice, animal fighting is an investigative priority for USDA-OIG, and we will work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and assist in the criminal prosecution of those who participate in animal fighting ventures.”

Assistant United States Attorney Ryan Love and Department of Justice Trial Attorney Ethan Eddy prosecuted the case. The matter was investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General.

Pictured: Law enforcement and the ASPCA conducted an operation in the 7000 block of Beulah Road in July 2018. Photos courtesy WEAR 3 for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Comments

27 Responses to “Four Convicted In Federal Dogfighting Case”

  1. Dick Hannah on March 7th, 2020 4:16 pm

    Destroying people’s lives over something these dogs have been doing for 200+ yrs is the true barbarism here. Animals are property and commodities. It fascinates me how truly hate filled the nut jobs on here advocating “animal rights” really are. And why is the US Gov’t wasting valuable resources on this? Absolutely insane.

  2. Sunshine on March 7th, 2020 11:38 am

    Poor dogs,that is heart breaking!

  3. Stumpknocker on March 6th, 2020 9:39 pm

    @sammie they get their bait dogs from stealing them from yards or on the internet where people are giving away their family pet.

  4. GH on March 6th, 2020 7:21 pm

    Dani has it backwards. Golson was acquitted. Sprague was found guilty. Convicted.

  5. jennifer on March 6th, 2020 5:23 pm

    I have been to Shane’s house and I saw nothing barbaric, suspicious or cruel at all. The dogs were all very sweet and loving. His wife and daughters were very involved in the care of the dogs–the dogs were treated like part of the family.

  6. jennifer on March 6th, 2020 5:19 pm

    I have been to Shane’s house and the dogs were all very nice and seemed well taken care of. He and his family are nice and I saw nothing barbaric or cruel at all.

  7. William Reynolds on March 6th, 2020 2:53 pm

    >>>Please get your facts straight. Sprague was found NOT GUILTY. C Wood Kennels is a group of show dogs

    You’ll need to contact Lawrence Keefe, United State Attorney for the Northern District of Florida and let him a federal judge or two know that they are wrong.

    Sprague was convicted. Period.

  8. Dani on March 6th, 2020 12:32 pm

    Please get your facts straight. Sprague was found NOT GUILTY. C Wood Kennels is a group of show dogs. Tommy Peak stated he sold to Derek Golson NOT Sprague.

  9. just a fact on March 6th, 2020 9:55 am

    Put them in a ring and make them fight till death.

  10. Animal lover on March 6th, 2020 8:32 am

    Their pictures should be on here to see just what pieces of trash look like.if they aren’t the law it should be posted like everybody else.

  11. This world on March 5th, 2020 8:15 pm

    dog fighting people die fighting each other but cause the government say its legal it ok wish people got treated good as dogs think about boxers that die or mma fighters

  12. J on March 5th, 2020 3:38 pm

    So where’s all the Sprague supporters now claiming his innocence? Crickets.

  13. Cleo Crane on March 5th, 2020 1:57 pm

    Well his wife and daughters couldn’t have meant that much to him or he wouldn’t have put himself in that position. Welcome to the big times guys

  14. Porque9 on March 5th, 2020 1:51 pm

    I shouldn’t wish this but I wish these people the absolute worst of everything for the rest of their lives, may they be short and painful.

  15. Cindi on March 5th, 2020 1:44 pm

    I would LOVE to see those involved be punished with the same exact treatment they inflicted on those poor dogs. Especially the bait dogs! Whatever you put those poor babies through will be what you receive. No matter what it was!! Show them how it felt!!

  16. Shelley on March 5th, 2020 11:52 am

    This is very sad, I actually encountered Shane Patrick Sprague and his family at my job. He had a wife and 3 or 4 beautiful little girls. It’s been a few years back but I remember him saying he bred Full blooded pits and owned a company. Which my husband loves pit bulls and so I considered buying one (not for fighting). I never reached out to him because we didn’t want animals at the time. But, he was a very nice guy and seemed like a very loving father to his girls. I can only imagine what his wife is going through now that she has to raise all the kids alone. I hope they all learn from this. This stupid, selfish act has caused this man to lose all the things that truly matter! What a shame! This really breaks my heart for everyone involved! The poor animals that had a life of agony and pain! Wow is all I can say

  17. JTV on March 5th, 2020 11:45 am

    I agree Sammie

  18. Sammie on March 5th, 2020 10:57 am

    “”Murph also admitted to supplying a “bait” animal to test the fighting abilities of one of the co-defendant’s dogs”"

    She needs to sit her sorry butt in prison until she says where she got those bait dogs

  19. EMD on March 5th, 2020 10:15 am

    May I just at least say, “THANK GOD !?

  20. Rational on March 5th, 2020 9:13 am

    Long jail sentences with big fines to keep these lowlifes off the street and to protect our animals.

  21. JTV on March 5th, 2020 9:10 am

    Trash can’t be nothing but trash

  22. Terri Norton on March 5th, 2020 9:05 am

    May they rot in hell

  23. Orkie Chavis on March 5th, 2020 9:02 am

    I can hardly believe how heartless and cruel some people can be. Thank you to all law-enforcement involved in the capture of these criminals and the rescue of these helpless dogs. Forced to fight to the death.

  24. David on March 5th, 2020 8:38 am

    @ Bartender…have another one..on me

  25. Former ECSO on March 5th, 2020 8:38 am

    Google James “Tommy” Peek and you will find a story about Peek from 1988. A local judge issued an order mandating that 27 pit bulls be put to sleep.

  26. no mugs on March 5th, 2020 7:56 am

    I am surprised to see no mugshots, northescambia.com shares our love of mugshots, but there are none, these trash are not law enforcement so I wonder the reason.

  27. Bartender on March 5th, 2020 2:10 am

    Thank you sheriff dept for catching these pieces of crap.thats so inhumane on those poor dogs for the love of money.only maybe alittle time in prison yea right.make them pay big money for the suffering of those animals.to see animals rip to pieces is a horrible thing.you will be judged at a later date with the man above





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