LONG BOTTOM — A search warrant was executed at a Long Bottom residence where an alleged “bearbaiting” event was taking place.
Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood reports that on Saturday, Nov. 11, the Ohio Department of Agriculture Enforcement Division executed a search warrant with the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office at a residence on Bush Road in Long Bottom. The resident is a Dangerous Wild Animal (DWA) permittee who owns a bear, according to a news release.
The resident is alleged to have been operating a “bearbaiting” event whereby several hunting dogs were released inside an enclosure thus attacking the bear. Information received by officers was that the resident was reportedly charging admission of $20 per dog to participate.
Bearbaiting is defined under Animal Fights, Section 959.15 of the Ohio Revised Code. In addition to the resident and his juvenile son, seven males, two females, and eight children were allegedly present at the event with the majority of participants being from West Virginia. At least one child was reportedly observed inside an unapproved enclosure while dogs were attacking the loose bear. Two of the males reportedly had handguns on their persons.
Assistance was provided by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Drone Team, which reportedly obtained significant video footage of the illegal activity as well as the Washington County and Jackson County Sheriff’s Offices, who provided tactical assistance. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio State Highway Patrol provided significant assistance as well.
The bear was seized pursuant to the warrant by DWA program personnel.
The resident and all spectators present are subject to criminal charges, which will be presented to the Meigs County Prosecutor for Grand Jury consideration on felony charges.
Editor’s Note: The Daily Sentinel is withholding the name of the individual alleged to have operated the bearbaiting event as charges have not been filed.