A man from Dinwiddie, VA will be spending the next 10 years in jail after a judge found him guilty of 37 counts of running a dogfighting operation.

A Lady Freethinker petition calling for justice for these dogs garnered nearly 15,000 signatures. We would like to thank everyone who added their voice to help ensure this man goes to jail and will never be able to hurt an animal again.

Forty-four-year-old Eldridge Freeman Junior was sentenced to 108 years in prison, with 98 years suspended. He is also banned from having animals for the rest of his life.

Freeman was arrested in November 2017, after the local sheriff’s department discovered evidence of dogfighting on his property. They found a dogfighting pit along with assorted equipment used in the operation, including syringes, photos, weights, scales chains, and canine medicine. The pit was full of blood stains, indicating it had been actively used.

Authorities confiscated 26 dogs from the property, all chained up in inhumane conditions outside the home. The animals had multiple scars over their heads, chests, and front legs, which a state veterinarian said were wounds consistent with dogfighting.

“Freeman housed the dogs in an inhumane way in plastic barrels, water tanks, or plywood whelping boxes, all of which were not insulated and did not have bedding for the animals,” said a spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General. 

During the trial, Freeman claimed that he loves his dogs and only trained them to take part in legal pitbull competitions, but the evidence proving otherwise was overwhelming.

Dogfighting is exceptionally cruel, not just for the duration of the brawl itself, but for the emotional and mental suffering endured by the dogs throughout their entire lives.

Many dogfighting trainers believe the more the animal suffers, the tougher they will become, so the dogs are tormented and tortured to turn them into winners.

Dogs that lose their fights aren’t profitable and may be brutally killed by trainers. They are kept in shocking conditions, with inadequate shelter and nutrition, and little to no veterinary care for the often horrific injuries sustained during the fights.

Dogfighting is a federal felony across the United States and should be punished accordingly. Thanks to all who spoke out for justice for these abused animals.