RICHMOND, Va. – A 44-year-old Dinwiddie County man has been convicted of 37 counts of animal cruelty and dogfighting involving 26 dogs.
Eldridge Freeman Jr.'s conviction follows a prosecution by the Animal Law Unit.
Freeman participated in dogfighting at a property on Wilson Road in Dinwiddie County, according to evidence presented in court.
Investigators say they found a 14x14x2-foot fighting pit outfitted with carpet, a tarp for a cover and what appeared to be blood stains and smears on the inside.
Dogfighting paraphernalia, heavily scarred dogs, wound dressings and others items associated with dog breeding and dogfighting were also found on the property.
Freeman housed the dogs in plastic barrels, water tanks or plywood whelping boxes, all of which were not insulated and did not have bedding for the animals, according to authorities.
Authorities seized 26 dogs from Freeman’s property.
He will be sentenced in February.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring created the nation’s first OAG Animal Law Unit in 2015 to serve as a training and prosecution resource for state agencies, investigators and Commonwealth’s Attorneys around the state dealing with matters involving animal fighting, cruelty and welfare. Illegal animal fighting is closely tied to illegal gambling drug and alcohol crimes and violence against animals has been shown to be linked to violence toward other people.
To date, the unit has handled more than 901 matters, to include trainings prosecutions, and consultations.