Owner of third cockfighting venue sentenced to prison


FILE: Generic jail/prison corridor (Photo credit: Getty)

STATESBORO, Ga (WJBF) – A Burke County man has been sentenced to prison after admitting to operating a cockfighting venue.

William Shannon Scott, 49, of Midville, Ga., was sentenced to 16 months in prison after pleading guilty to Sponsoring and Exhibiting an Animal in an Animal Fighting Venture.

Scott also has to pay a fine of $2,500 and a special assessment of $100 and to forfeit the land on which the fights were held, prohibited him from owning birds or fowl or engaging in cockfighting, and ordered him to serve two years of supervised release after completion of his prison term.

The owners of two other venues, Wendell Allan Strickland, 67, of Swainsboro, Ga., and Lanier Augustus Hightower, 65, of Lincolnton, Ga., currently are serving federal prison terms after admitting to similar charges.

Scott operated a cockfighting venue called Little Sunset on his Midville property.

The venue alternated weekend events with Strickland’s Emanuel County venue, The Red Barn.

Scott was arrested in June 2020 on federal charges as part of Operation Sunrise, a multi-agency raid of a cockfighting tournament at his property in which nearly 200 possible defendants were identified.

Six months earlier, the operation on Hightower’s farm in Lincoln County was the first of the three raided by law enforcement agencies during a cockfighting tournament in December 2019.

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