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Press Release

Texas Man Charged with Federal Dogfighting Offenses

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas unsealed a grand jury indictment today charging a Texas man with federal dogfighting violations.

Jesus Allen Stephens, of Waskom, Texas, made his initial appearance in court today. He is charged with participating in a major dogfighting event in November 2021 in Waskom, possessing fighting dogs and fighting dogs in an April 2021 dog fight.

According to court documents, Stephens organized and hosted a large-scale dogfighting event on family-owned property in Harrison County, Texas, on Nov. 13, 2021. Stephens and others arranged to fight dogs at the event for gambling and entertainment purposes. Prior to the event, Stephens announced a series of up to 14 matches and sent GPS coordinates to the property to multiple individuals. The fight included out-of-state participants. Law enforcement personnel who disrupted the event found a dogfighting pit structure in addition to other dogfighting evidence.

Under federal law, it is illegal to fight dogs in a venture that effects interstate commerce and to possess, train, transport, deliver, sell, purchase or receive dogs for fighting purposes. The indictment charges Stephens with possessing seven dogs for dogfighting purposes. Stephens is also charged for his participation in another dog fight that occurred on April 10, 2021. Authorities recovered six dogs in conjunction with this investigation.  

If convicted, Stephens faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count charged.

Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) and U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs for the Eastern District of Texas made the announcement.

The FBI’s Shreveport Resident Agency and Tyler, Texas, offices are investigating this case. Deputies with the Harrison County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office have also provided invaluable assistance.

Trial Attorney Sarah Brown and Senior Trial Attorney Ethan Eddy of ENRD’s Environmental Crimes Section are prosecuting the case, with assistance from James Noble of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated May 29, 2024

Animal Welfare
Press Release Number: 24-681