Columbia -- Authorities have broken up a large dog-fighting operation in an area of northern Richland County that has drawn scrutiny in the past over drug-dealing and pit-bull fighting.
Acting on a tip, deputies raided a dog fight off Campground Road late Thursday. People watching the fight fled, and some dogs scattered through the wooded area of rolling hills and mobile homes north of Interstate 20.
Stanley W. Taylor Jr., 23, was jailed after being charged with two counts of violating the animal fighting and baiting act.
Deputies spent part of Thursday night and Friday seeking other suspects and rounding up loose dogs, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said. Deputies had seized 24 dogs by Friday.
"This was a large-scale dog-fighting operation that we feel has been going on for some time," Lott said Friday.
He said he knows from personal experience that dog-fighting was occurring in the area near Campground Road, but it had been difficult to locate pit-bull fights until the department received Thursday's tip about barking dogs.
During the past five years, Lott said he has found about 15 dead pit bulls on hunting land he owns not far from Campground Road. "These were pit bulls. They were killed either in the dog-fighting, or were unsuccessful (fighters), and were killed by the owners and were just dumped."
Most of the dogs seized this week were pit bulls, the main animals used in dog fights. Lott said the seized dogs were being kept at an undisclosed location as the investigation unfolds.
When authorities arrived at the fight scene Thursday, they found some dogs chained up and others running loose, the sheriff said.
Court records show the Campground Road area has a history of dog-fighting activity.
According to a 2003 federal court transcript, a mobile home on Campground Road was used to receive drugs from Georgia and keep pit bulls bred for sale to dog-fighters.