Skip to comments.S.C. man gets 30 years in jail for dog fighting
Posted on 12/03/2004 11:22:35 AM PST by upchuck
A Charleston man accused of breeding and training dogs for underground fights will spend the next 30 years of his life in a cage.
David Tant, labeled by prosecutors as the No. 2 breeder of fighting pit bulls, submitted a guilty plea Monday two days into his jury trial. He had maintained his innocence since his arrest in April, but admitted Monday that he not only bred dozens of pit bulls for fighting, but that he also created a destructive device that injured a railroad surveyor who stumbled onto his property.
An investigation into the surveyor's injury led to the discovery of numerous pit bulls on the property, as well as tools used to train the animals for fighting.
Many of these items - such as treadmills, cattle prods and a "rape box" designed to restrain dogs that are too aggressive for natural breeding - were on display in the courtroom during Tant's change of heart.
"This looks like a chamber of horrors," said S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster, whose office prosecuted the case. "If there were humans being put through this, it would be a capital case.
This is a torture chamber of animals. It is barbaric and cruel beyond description."
The jury saw less than two full days of witness testimony, but the evidence presented was powerful. One juror was moved to tears Saturday after watching a videotape recording of an illegal dogfight.
"It was horrible," another juror said Monday after Tant's plea was entered.
Prosecutor William Frick said even more damning evidence waited in the wings. Tant was in the habit of recording his telephone conversations, and the state planned to let the jury hear some of these talks.
The tape includes discussions with potential customers from the Czech Republic and the Philippines, as well as a complaint from a buyer who was assured a winning dog from Tant's stable.
The evidence overwhelmingly showed that the defendant was not the innocent animal breeder he claimed, Frick said.
"He had no other purpose for those dogs," he said. "They were specifically bred and trained for dog fighting."
Tant faced 41 charges of criminal animal fighting and one charge of assault and battery with intent to kill. Many of these charges were dismissed as part of his guilty plea, and the most potentially serious - one count of assault and battery with intent to kill - was reduced to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.
He received a total of 30 years in prison — 10 for creating the booby trap that injured the surveyor, 20 for four counts of criminal animal fighting.
He also faces an additional 10 years in prison for criminal animal fighting if he fails to make restitution for the care of the animals confiscated by investigators, medical expenses for the man injured on his property and the cost of moving the trial from Charleston to Greenwood County.
These expenses are expected to exceed $150,000.
The S.C. Attorney General's Office was adamant that Tant receive the harshest possible sentence. Jennifer Evans, one of the prosecutors in the case, called dogfighting "a heinous sport and a heinous criminal activity."
Steve Baker, who was injured by the shotgun-shell powered booby trap on Tant's land, was one of those who wanted Tant to spend as much time in prison as the law would allow.
"I don't think anyone should have to go through what I've been through," Baker said. "I don't want to be around any of this stuff again."
Others saw the trial as an opportunity to make a statement about the consequences for criminal animal fighting in South Carolina.
"Dogfighting is not really on the decline. There's as much dogfighting as there ever has been," said Robert Carlson, the Charleston veterinarian who examined the animals confiscated from Tant. "We need to hang them - hang them high and hang them publicly - so we really make a statement about this."
Not everyone was lining up to demonize Tant. His family and attorney asked for leniency, portraying him as a family man and the primary care provider for ailing parents.
"A severe sentence for a man his age is a life sentence," said Tant's attorney Dale Cobb. "Having plead guilty, he should receive the mercy of the court."
"I don't know what's going to happen with my mother and father's care without him," sister Linda Tant said prior to sentencing. "We know he's made a mistake - he's a good man, he's not the bad man he appears through all of this."
While the final sentence was a small portion of the 205 years faced by Tant, McMaster said the punishment fit the crime.
"I think it's a serious sentence and sends a serious message," he said. "Mr. Tant didn't show those dogs any mercy."
*pit bull ping*
He should have used the "Gamecock" defense.
While I believe that dog fighting is absolutely cruel, I have a hard time understanding why the penalty is often less for those who commit violent crimes against people.
Something for your doggie ping list!
It seems clear that pit bull owners are even more twisted, crazed and demented than the pit bulls themselves.
Read past the headline. He was also convicted of injuring a railroad worker.
He's lucky they didn't find drugs, he would have gotten the death sentence.
People who are abusive to animals are also abusive to people
The boobytrap should've gotten him the 20 years.
There is nothing wrong with Pit bulls. The only problem is idiots like this savage piece of scum torture the animals until they become vicious. I hope he enjoys his thirty years in jail. I wouldn't care if he got the death penalty. You are a simple-monded idiot, who is brainwashed by media sensationalism that exaggerates everything. Pit bull attacks are disproportionaly and they are falsely reported. The media loves saying Pit bull attacks so idiots like you can get all worked up about it. The dogs that killed the woman in SF were Canary Island Dogs yet they were referred to as Pit bulls by the simple-minded, ignorant idiots in the media. The AKC(American Kennel Club)recognizes that Pit bulls are one of the most stable dog breeds. Pit bulls pass temperment tests at a higher rate (95%) than Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds. You are ignorant.
hehe, get a load of this... pit bulls are more gentle than Golden Retrievers, but the pit bulls are being wrongly maligned by the media... L O L...
Islam is a loving religion as well...
Rule 1: Size of pit, optional; to be square with sides 2 feet high, scratch line 12 feet apart.
Rule 2: Referee to be chosen before the dogs are weighed in or washed and referee to conduct the contest according to these rules and his decision to be final.
Rule 3: Referee to see the dogs weighed at time agreed on and if either dog is over top weight agreed on he loses the forfeit money.
Rule 4: Parties to toss coin to see who shall wash first, each party to furnish two clean towels and a blanket.
Rule 5: If requested to do so the referee shall search the person named to wash the dogs and then have him bare his arm to the elbow and wash both dogs in the same warm water and rinse them each in his half of the warm clean water provided for that purpose.
Rule 6: As the dogs are washed clean and dried they shall be turned over to their handlers and at once taken to their corners of the pit as designated by the referee and the referee must search handlers for means of foul play and see that he bares his arms to the elbow before he receives his dog and must keep his arms bare in such a manner during the contest.
Rule 7: The dog's owner or his representative shall be allowed at all times to be near his dog and watch to see that no harm is done him, and each owner shall be allowed to name a man or himself watch his opponent's dog and handler at all times to see he is given no unfair advantage.
Rule 8: Either dog's owner, handler, or watcher if he sees anything wrong must at once appeal to the referee and get his decision. And if any handler, watcher or owner violates any of these rules and thereby favors either dog the dog so favored must at once be declared the loser.
Rule 9: The interested parties shall choose a timekeeper at the pit side.
Rule 10: The dogs are placed in their corners of the pit, opposite corners, faces turned from each other and only the dogs and their handlers inside the pit. Then the referee shall say, "Face you dogs". Each handler must always show his dog full head and shoulders between his legs. The referee says, "Let go", but the handlers must never push or shove their dogs and handlers shall not leave their corners until the dogs are together.
Rule 11: Now when one of the dogs turns his head and shoulders away from his opponent after the fight is on it is a turn, whether they are in holds or free, and the handler must claim the turn and the referee must allow the claim if he believes it is a turn or the referee must call the first fair turn he sees whether the handler claims it or not and when the referee calls a turn he shall say, "Handle your dogs", and each handler must pick up his dog as soon as he can without breaking a hold. Handlers carry their dogs to their respective corners the referee shall say, "Face your dogs". Then the handlers must show their dog's head and shoulders between their legs, facing the center of the pit. The dog that turned first must scratch first. In five seconds more the referee shall say; "Let go", then the dog that made the first turn must be turned loose by his handler and this dog must go across and mouth the other dog. If, when he is turned loose he refuses to start at once or is he stops on the way over, or if he fails to reach his opponent must declare his opponent the winner. A handler is allowed to release his dog at anytime he sees fit after the dog whose turn it is to cross has started over. He must turn him loose when the dogs touch each other. He is not compelled to until then.
Rule 13: After the dogs are together this time either handler is allowed to pick up his dog when they are not in holds, if ordered by referee. If he tries for a pick up and either dog has a hold he must turn him loose at once. If he catches his dog up free both handlers must handle their dogs at once. Take their dogs to their corners and proceed same as at the first turn, except this time the dog which went across before is allowed to remain in his corner while his opponent makes a scratch, or goes across, and they alternate or take it turn about in this manner until one of them is declared the winner under these rules. The referee pays no attention to the turns after the first scratch.
Rule 14: If one of the dogs fangs himself, that is, if he gets his teeth hung in his own lip, his handler is allowed to un-fang him. If the dogs have to be separated for this they are turned loose again, both at the same time within two feet of each other in the center of the pit.
Rule 15: No sponging shall be allowed, and no towels or anything else taken into the pit by the handlers except a bottle of drink for his dog and a fan to cool him with. The handlers must taste their dogs drink before the referee to show that it contains no poison.
Rule 16: If the handler of either dog is seen to take anything from anyone on the outside of the pit he is to lose the battle. Each party shall have the right to put a man near his opponent's corner to watch the handler. Should he see the handler put anything on his dog he may appeal to the referee and if the referee finds anything on the dog he is to lose the battle.
Rule 17: Should either handler leave the pit with his dog before the referee renders his decision he is to lose the battle.
Rule 18: The handlers shall be allowed to encourage their dogs by voice or hand-clapping or snapping of fingers, but must not touch their dogs or use foul, dirty methods, by saving their dogs from hard fall or keeping the other handler away from his dog, or in any other way act unfairly. The referee must decide the battle against the one who does so.
Rule 19: Should the police interfere the referee to name the next meeting place.
I completely agree, it is not unusual to hear of a serial murderer who at first directed his sadistic tendencies toward animals.
As the soft-hearted critter lover that I am,
I would prefer that he simply get 10 minutes with me, and others like me (line starts to the left).
I just have to go find my 2x4 with spikes first. ;)
I don't mean to detract from the awful individual this man obviously is (he deserves every second of his imprisonment)but,
I don't understand how individuals can be so against this type of cruelty to animals and yet, oppose US intervention in Iraq, when worse things were happening to human beings.
Rule 20: Bust in with guns a'blazin' and shoot every one of these dog fighting weasels.
I forgot to put those are called the "CAJUN RULES" and are of course For Historical Purposes Only
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