There's been considerable attention paid to the role played by private security firms in the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As it turns out, one such firm is also helping with the stateside war against dogfighting.
Earlier this month, the Appalachian Circuit District Attorney's office raided Mountain Swamp Kennels in rural Blue Ridge, Ga., near the border with North Carolina. Owner Albert Glenn White was arrested and charged with more than 20 counts of felony dogfighting. Authorities say they found three fighting pits on the property and dogfighting paraphernalia and seized 22 dogs, some of whom reportedly have scars consistent with fighting.
Information regarding White's kennels was originally provided to the Humane Society of the United States via its dogfighting tip line, 877-TIP-HSUS. The tip line was set up in the wake of the dogfighting case involving former Atlanta Falcon's football player Michael Vick by private security firm Norred & Associates, which is headquartered in Atlanta with offices in Miami; Memphis, Tenn.; Hilton Head, S.C.; and Birmingham, Ala.
Founded in 1981, Norred & Associates provides security for corporations including Georgia Pacific, The Home Depot and TXU Energy. The company also dispatched special operations agents to Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to protect its clients' properties against looting, and it provides security for retired Lt. Col. Oliver North's book tours.
Said Dr. Melinda Merck, a forensic veterinarian with the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals who took part in the raid:
"We are sending a clear message to dogfighters that we will continue to use any and all resources we have to uncover their illegal operations and bring justice for these animals."
The Mountain Swamp Kennel raid was the second such bust in Georgia since May, when Gov. Sonny Purdue signed legislation strengthening the state's anti-dogfighting law. It's now a felony there to own, possess, transport, or sell a dog for the purpose of fighting, and those involved in illegal dogfighting face one to five years in prison, a minimum fine of $5,000, or both.