Charges refiled in dogfighting case

Saturday, July 19, 2008

One day after Jamie Sifford of Dudley, Mo., was sentenced to six years in prison on dogfighting charges, new charges have been filed against another man.

Curtis Pickering, 29, of South Fulton, Tenn., will face the same charges that were dropped in June -- three counts of the felony of dogfighting.

A warrant was issued Thursday for his arrest listing a $250,000 cash-only bond.

Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Briney Welborn said in a previous interview that he dismissed the charges because Pickering was going to go to trial before Sifford and he said it needed to be the other way around.

Sifford and his cousin, Jessey Short, were arrested in the same October bust.

All three of the men bonded out of jail earlier this year.

Investigators allegedly recovered videos at Sifford's and Pickering's residences of at least one of the dogs found being fought. A video was allegedly found in the glove compartment of Pickering's sport utility vehicle of dogfights at his Tennessee home with his girlfriend and several family members present.

The day after Pickering's arrest, authorities at the Stoddard County Jail said they heard a phone recording of him calling home and asking his mother, Judy Pickering, and his girlfriend, Ashley Donaldson, and alluding to removing anything incriminating from his property, speaking in code.

Both were charged in October with being accessories to dogfighting. Charges against Donaldson were dropped, and Judy Pickering pleaded guilty. She received one year probation.

Orvil Pickering, Curtis Pickering's father, pleaded guilty to one count of dogfighting because the tape found in Stoddard County allegedly showed him participating in the fights. Curtis Pickering also faced a charge of dogfighting in Tennessee, but it was dismissed.

Short has a case review scheduled for Monday.

Earlier this year, Sifford relinquished custody of the dogs seized in the raid to the Missouri Humane Society.

The dogs have since undergone various medical treatments and temperament testing to determine whether they were fit for adoption. Several puppies and a beagle are now available for adoption to the public through a special adoption process. The adult pit bulls are available for possible placement with qualified rescue groups. Adopters and rescue groups interested in the dogs should call 314-805-5712.

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