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Woman arrested in dogfighting ring investigation

Authorities anticipate additional arrests in ongoing operation

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PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – The Putnam County Sheriff's Office Major Crimes Unit arrested a woman involved in a 2015 dogfighting ring Friday, authorities said.

Deputies obtained and served a warrant for the arrest of 44-year-old Ruth Bryant in Hawthorne.

Bryant was taken into custody without incident and taken to the Putnam County jail, where she was booked on charges of causing an animal to engage in a fight with other animals, facilitating an animal fight and attending an animal fight.

Bryant's arrest stems from an ongoing investigation into a dogfight that occurred in a wooded area near Azalea Lane in West Putnam County on Dec. 19, 2015. 

Just over a year ago, Putnam deputies discovered a large group of people at what appeared to be an active and organized dogfight. Many of them fled the location when law enforcement officers arrived.

The event in 2015 initiated a large, multi-jurisdictional investigation involving both state and federal agencies, authorities said.

Deputies said Bryant is considered to be the primary facilitator of the initial dogfighting event.

Bryant was present at the fight, owned the property where the fight was staged and appeared to have been instrumental in providing other items located where the fight occurred, deputies said.

Authorities said Bryant's arrest is considered an important step in the ongoing investigation.

The FBI also indicted an individual in the Sarasota area associated with the investigation on Federal firearm charges.

Putnam County investigators also forwarded charges of attending a dogfight against 37-year-old Andrew Lee Ray to the State Attorney's Office.

Authorities said the investigation is still considered to be ongoing and additional arrests are anticipated.