LOUISVILLE, Ga (WJBF) – A Georgia man has been sentenced in federal court in connection with a dog-fighting ring broken up in 2018 in Dodge County.
41-year old, Benjamin ‘Benji’ Shinhoster III of Louisville, was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to Sponsoring and Exhibiting a Dog in an Animal Fighting Venture.
Shinhoster also has to pay a fine of $2,500 and to serve three years of supervised release after completion of his prison sentence.
The lead defendant in the investigation, James Lampkin, a/k/a “Pookie,” 46, of Eastman, Ga., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Welfare Act, while co-defendants Deveon Hood, 34, of Tennille, Ga.; Andre Archer, 23, of Sandersville, Ga.; Xavier Simmons, 34, of Sandersville, Ga.; and Joe Ford, 33, of Elgin, S.C., await sentencing in federal court after pleading guilty to related felony charges.
Dwight McDuffie, 44, of Eastman, Ga., is serving two years of probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge in the case.
In March 2018, Georgia State Patrol troopers and Georgia Department of Natural Resources game wardens conducted traffic stops in Eastman after the Oconee Drug Task Force received reports of a dogfighting operation at Lampkin’s property.
During those traffic stops, officers discovered a dog in one of the vehicles that appeared to have been injured while fighting.
Investigators later seized 63 dogs at Lampkin’s residence while serving a search warrant after finding the animals chained in the back yard.
Investigators also discovered a disassembled pit where fights were held, and equipment used to train dogs for fighting.