Four men have been arrested on multiple counts of animal cruelty after being indicted by the Cheatham County grand jury on Monday. The indictments stem from an investigation launched by the Cheatham County Sheriff's Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation after an alleged dog fighting operation was discovered at an Ashland City residence on Thanksgiving Day of last year.
The Cheatham County Fire Department responded to a report of a brush fire at a residence on Buckeye Road on Nov. 22, 2012. When they arrived, firefighters found numerous dogs chained throughout the property. Officials with Cheatham County Animal Control, along with members of the Animal Rescue Corps, found 60 dogs on the property. Many of the dogs found showed signs of malnutrition and other serious health issues.
A search warrant was executed on the property shortly after the animals were removed. Evidence of a dog fighting operation, including a treadmill, spring pole and weighted sled, were found at that time.
Those arrested are:
- James Callis, 21, of Ashland City, Tenn
- Avery Bell, 54, of Ashland City, Tenn.
- Gary Phelps, 50, of Ashland City, Tenn
- Arsenio Williams, 29, of Nashville. Tenn
All four men are charged with one count of animal fighting, 60 counts of animal cruelty, and one count of aggravated cruelty to animals. Bell, owner of the property where the dogs were found, was also charged with one count of setting fire to personal property and burning without a permit.
All four individuals have been booked into the Cheatham County Jail, each on a $50,000 bond. A court date has not yet been set.