JAMES LEE PETERSON arrested after police seized several injured dogs and chickens from his property

- Indiana, USA -

On November 16, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office arrested 42-years-old JAMES LEE PETERSON (pictured below) but the facts leading to his arrest go back to September 2021.

FOX59 reports that in September someone on a golf cart went by a mobile home in the 2100 block of Rangeline Road, near Rangeline Nature Preserve, and contacted police after they “heard dogs barking and going crazy.”

On September 18, officer John Owen went to the home in question and while no one was there, he did see dogs and chickens on the property. Officer Owen saw five dogs on chains and six chickens in a cage. There was no sign of food or water for the poor animals, and Officer Owen described the dogs as “very thin with observed ribs and open wounds.”

Police later learned that PETERSON was the owner of the property and on September 21, officer Owen returned to the home with an officer with the Indiana Gaming Commission and executed a search warrant which led to eight dogs and six chickens being removed from the home. Police also found and seized fighting paraphernalia.

All the dogs were American Staffordshire/Pitbulls and had untreated injuries. Five of them, as stated before, were first seen during the first visit. The other three, were discovered inside the mobile home in cages where they were “standing or lying down in feces and urine.” One of the three dogs found in cages had a deformed leg. A veterinarian determined it was indicative of a break that was never treated.

As reported by FOX59, “The wounds on the dogs were in various stages of healing and centered on the head and front of the body, a sign police say is consistent with dogfighting. The chickens also had injuries on their beaks and bodies that a board of health doctor said were indicative orbeing scared or startled in their enclosure’.”

Police also said one of the dogs (who was approximately 30 pounds) was tethered to a pole by a 10-pound chain. Court documents say this type of restraint is typically used in dogfighting training.

When the dogs were removed from the home, they were put in an Animal Control vehicle in separate units.

According to investigators the dogs were not overly aggressive towards human contact but became extremely aggressive towards the other dogs.

Court documents say that the dogs reacted so violently when placed next to each other and on a couple of occasions they were able to break through the walls and attack each other.


A doctor who examined the dogs found all of them had wounds that were in various stages of healing, “indicating a pattern of fighting.” Six of them had a significant amount of bite wounds, and the other two had less extensive wounds.

Charges against PETERSON were filed on October 20, and an order was granted October 28, for the Animal Protection League to determine the disposition of the animals seized.

PETERSON is charged with Level 6 felony possession or purchase of an animal for fighting, Level 6 felony animal fighting contest promoting, Class A misdemeanor cruelty to an animal, Class A misdemeanor possession of animal fighting paraphernalia and charged with harboring a nonimmunized dog.

Online records show PETERSON was released on his own recognizance one hour after his arrest.

The Herald Bulletin reports that PETERSON has been accused of animal fighting before and that he was previously investigated by the Anderson Police Department’s Animal Control Division for animal fighting.

Kris Ockomon, director of Anderson’s Animal Control, explained to Officer Owen that their investigation could not prove animal fighting although it was suspected, and the Indiana Gaming Commission assisted with the investigation.

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