Pup sold into dog fighting ring?

November 18, 2008 3:33:44 PM PST
Prosecutors told a judge Tuesday that a man facing charges of running a dogfighting ring took $1,500 from undercover agents for a puppy earmarked to participate in the bloody sport. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Donald Wayne Woods, 41, of Houston, appeared Tuesday before state District Judge Mike Anderson. Woods faces two counts of dogfighting after federal authorities broke up a dogfighting operation that drew crowds of 100 people and bets as high as $1,000.

Nearly 200 dogs have been seized, eight people arrested and 47 others indicted since officials near Houston announced Friday they busted up the ring.

Woods and another man, Ellis Wayne Island Jr., are charged with running the operation. Island, 45, told the Houston Chronicle after a hearing before state District Judge George Godwin that he did not have a leadership role in the ring. He faces three counts of dogfighting.

Meanwhile, prosecutors also told Anderson that Woods organized a dogfight that undercover agents witnessed. Bets on that fight totaled between $4,500 and $5,000, prosecutors said.

Woods' attorney, Augustin Pink, said after the hearing that his client insists he didn't sell "anything to anybody."

"He's still maintaining his innocence," Pink said.

Woods is scheduled to appear in court again on Dec. 4. Island is due back in court on Jan. 8.

Authorities broke up the ring through a 17-month investigation by undercover officers, who attended some of the weekly or bimonthly fights held at eight secluded sites in Harris County.

Bets on one fight totaled $80,000, investigators said, and it was common for a participant to pay $500 to $1,000 for a single bout.

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