A senior airman at MacDill Air Force Base was arrested Tuesday, accused by authorities of animal cruelty, baiting and breeding dogs to fight, and possession of dog-fighting equipment.
Charged was Anthony Wilson Hughes, 22, of 13449 Silvercreek Drive in Riverview. He remained jailed Tuesday afternoon with bail set at $6,000.
The charges were lodged by Hillsborough County Animal Services investigators, who served a search warrant at the airman’s home in July. Investigators found two outdoor dogs, both American pit bulls between 40 and 60 pounds, that had signs they were in fights, said Pam Perry, a spokeswoman for Animal Services.
“Those dogs were severely scarred up from dog fighting,” she said. “There was another dog inside the house that was emaciated; it weighed less than 18 pounds.”
She said there was equipment used to train fighting dogs, including modified treadmills and poles, and veterinarian books, bandages and wound-care products, “products that are not typically around with a companion type of dog. With the conditions of the animals and scarring, we put two and two together.”
All three dogs were seized by Animal Services, she said. Whether the pit bulls will be put up for adoption is uncertain.
“We are evaluating them as far as their behavior,” she said, “Then, based on that evaluation, we will consider placement. It can go either way. They may have issues with other animals, they may not. We’re trying to give them a fair shake and see how they do.”
An investigation by multiple organizations at the base found no evidence of any dog fighting on base, and the case is closed, said Air Force Sgt. Brandon Shapiro, a spokesman for the 6th Air Mobility Wing.