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Claude Anthony Sanders, Jr.
all images courtesy of Iredell Co. Sheriff's Office

Statesville Man Charged with Animal Cruelty in Connection with Dog Fighting

46-year-old Claude Anthony Sanders, Jr. of Whitney Lane in Statesville has been arrested by Iredell County Sheriff’s Officers on 24 counts of felony cruelty to animals. He was also charged with felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. According to a statement released by the Sheriff’s Office, Sanders was a key figure in the training and distribution of dogs and in arranging dog fights in North Carolina, South Carolina, and other states.

Yesterday (February 1), Iredell County Investigators and the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team executed a search warrant at Sanders’ residence as the result of their investigation into illegal dog fighting. Investigators found various items used to train dogs to fight, medication & treatment supplies for injured dogs, marijuana, and a handgun. Officers also found exercise equipment used to develop strength and stamina, which aid in dog fighting. Following the search, Sanders was taken into custody.

25 dogs were seized by authorities. A large number of the dogs were kept in outside kennels and most were covered in feces and urine. Several dogs had obvious scars and facial injuries from previous dog fights. There were also signs of forced breeding.

Sanders was placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $200,000 secured bond. No court dates are currently listed.

Sanders has a criminal history that includes felony dog fighting & baiting and felony larceny of a motor vehicle, plus other misdemeanor charges.