Two North Carolina men were sentenced today for violations of the Animal Welfare Act for engaging in dog fighting and related criminal conduct.
Laddie Dwayne McMillian, 47, will serve 16 months in prison and Derrick Twitty, 48, will serve six months in prison. Both defendants will serve two years of supervised release following the completion of their sentences and are prohibited from possessing any dogs during the term of supervision, including through a third party.
According to court documents, McMillian conspired to breed, train and fight dogs for nearly 15 years. He openly boasted of owning and operating “mass destruction kennels,” a fighting dog breeding operation. On Jan. 27, 2020, McMillian shared a video of his “yard,” showcasing 13 dogs. He also shared videos of his dogs engaged in fights. In one video, which lasts four minutes and 57 seconds, two dogs are seen fighting in a typical fighting pit. By the end of the video, the dogs’ faces and ears are bleeding and raw.
In early 2020, Twitty joined the fighting and breeding operations, and together, the two trained and bred dogs for dog fights, scheduled “roll” fights, and tended to their dog’s injuries. A “roll” is a fight between two dogs for a short period of time, testing the dogs’ fighting abilities and is an “animal fighting venture.”
“Slick Rick” was their prize fighter. Born in January 2018, McMillian trained and subjected Slick Rick to fights, over and over again. He died in January 2022, a few weeks after McMillian sponsored him in a dog fight.
“The life and death of this dog reflects the defendants’ extraordinary cruelty, abuse, and mistreatment of animals for entertainment – criminal conduct that our division has and will continue to aggressively prosecute,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
“The defendants in this case treated dogs like a commodity, bred and trained to fight, often to death, for the amusement of spectators taking part in this cruel activity,” said U.S. Attorney Dena J. King for the Western District of North Carolina. “Dogfighting is an illegal blood sport that subjects animals to incredible pain and suffering. It is also a federal crime and one that has the full attention of my office and our law enforcement counterparts.”
“The barbaric practice of pitting animals against each other in a fight to the death has no place in this country,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Salina Walker of the Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General (USDA-OIG). “The outstanding work of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners who investigated this case and the prosecutors of the Department of Justice made it possible to bring this individual of a major animal fighting venture to justice. USDA-OIG has made animal fighting a high priority in order to demonstrate that these inhumane acts of cruelty to animals will not be tolerated.”
The USDA-OIG and North Carolina’s Polk County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.
Senior Trial Attorney Banumathi Rangarajan and Trial Attorney William J. Shapiro of the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Crimes Section and Deputy Criminal Chief Don Gast for the Western District of North Carolina prosecuted the case.