Owner of Natchez dog fighting "boneyard" surrenders to police

Tommie Queen / Photo: Adams County Sheriff's Office (Photo: 11/8/2017)
Tommie Queen / Photo: Adams County Sheriff's Office (Photo: 11/8/2017)(KNOE)
Published: Nov. 8, 2017 at 2:37 PM CST
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The owner of a property described as a dog fighting "boneyard" in the Natchez area has surrendered, according to authorities.

The Adams County Sheriff's Office says 31-year-old Tommie Queen turned himself in Wednesday afternoon. Investigators began looking for Queen after a tip on Monday led to the discovery of more than 50 pit bulls in poor health and the remains of about 30 others.

Sheriff Travis Patten described the property as a "boneyard" littered with the skeletal corpses of dead dogs. He said dozens of other injured and abused dogs who had so far escaped death were chained up and forced to spend their days in deplorable conditions surrounded by rot and decay.

"We have dogs, some with their legs bitten off, one with its lower jaw missing. You have a boneyard out here in plain view.” Sheriff Patten said in a written statement.

Some of the dogs had injuries consistent with dog fighting, including fresh scars, according to Lieutenant Stanley Searcy. Describing the scene, he said, "It's unimaginable. Like nothing I’ve ever seen before." Searcy said many of the dead appeared to have been shot in the head and left where they fell, “Not even buried. Just lying on top of the ground."

Tommie Lee Queen was booked into the Adams County Jail on Wednesday on an animal cruelty charge. That charge is listed as malicious on the Adams County Jail website, which makes it a felony on second and subsequent offenses. Under Mississippi law, multiple instances of such crimes are considered to be a single offense if they are considered to have happened at the same time.

Though Queen has not been charged with dog fighting at this time, authorities say this investigation began with allegations of dog fighting. Under Mississippi law, taking part in a dog fight is a felony. This includes sponsoring a fight, betting on a fight, or even just watching a fight.