ICSO investigators seized 25 dogs as part of criminal investigation.


A western Iredell County man suspected of playing a key role in illegal dogfighting faces 25 felony charges following an investigation by the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office.

Claude Sanders Jr.

Sheriff Darren Campbell announced the arrest of Claude Anthony Sanders Jr., 46, of Whitney Lane, Statesville, in a news release Friday.

On Thursday, ICSO investigators, along with members of the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team, executed a search warrant at at Sanders’ residence after conducting an investigation into illegal dog fighting.

While executing the search warrant, investigators arrested Sanders and charged him with 24 counts of felony cruelty to animals, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and and a misdemeanor drug offense.

“This investigation began after authorities identified Claude Sanders Jr. as a key figure in the training, distributing, and arranging of dog fights in North Carolina, South Carolina, and other states,” Sheriff Campbell said.

Investigators seized 25 dogs and located items used to train dogs to fight, medication and treatment supplies for injured dogs, marijuana, and a handgun, according to the news release.

“The conditions that some of the dogs were found in were deplorable,” Campbell said. “A large number of the dogs were kept in outside kennels, and most of these were covered in feces and urine. Several of the dogs had obvious scars and facial injuries from previous dog fights. There were also signs of forced breeding and various exercise equipment to develop strength and stamina, which aid in dog fighting.”

Sanders was transported to the Iredell County Detention Center and was taken before Magistrate Nethken, who issued a $200,000 secured bond.

According to the ICSO, Sanders’ criminal history includes the following charges: Felony Larceny of a Motor Vehicle, Misdemeanor Simple Worthless Check, Driving while License Revoked, Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana, and Felony Dog Fighting and Baiting.

5 thoughts on “Sheriff: Suspect faces felony animal cruelty charges in connection with ICSO dogfighting investigation

Comments are closed.