McNeil receives prison sentence

Published 4:34 pm Thursday, June 9, 2011

The arrest last month of an Atmore man previously convicted on dog fighting charges has ended with a prison sentence this week.

Terrance McNeil was arrested in early May along with his twin brother, Terrell McNeil, after officers found the two in possession of a dog trained for fighting as well

as paraphernalia associated with dog fighting practices.

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A motion was entered in Escambia County’s Circuit Court that found Terrance McNeil headed for a two-year stay with the Alabama Department of Corrections. His probation from a previous conviction has now been revoked and he will serve the balance of that split sentence in prison. The sentence was modified by the motion to provide that he be sentenced to 10 years in prison under a split sentence act. He will serve two years in prison and will be required to spend three years on state supervised probation.

Terrence McNeil

Renee Jones, director of the Humane Society of Escambia County, assisted in the investigation that ended with the filing of this week’s order.

Previously, Jones had said the evidence Terrance McNeil had in his possession was evidence that he had continued to engage in a crime he had previously been arrested for and convicted of in Escambia and Autauga counties.

“The McNeils are repeat offenders,” Jones said. “People who fight dogs are the scourge of the earth. I hope to always be of help with investigations to stop this activity.”

Escambia County Chief Deputy Mike Lambert had previously reported that both McNeil men were out on bond from similar charges in Autauga County when the May arrest was made.

“Terrence is on probation with Community Corrections here and both McNeil’s are out on bond from Autauga County,” Lambert said. “This is Terrance McNeil’s third arrest on these kinds of charges.”

The arrest in Escambia County put officials on the track of seeking to have bond revoked in Autauga County on both men, Lambert said.

In the order filed this week, Escambia County Sheriff Deputy Shane Ward testified that wile on routine patrol he observed a vehicle failing to give a turn signal and had not tag lights. When the vehicle was stopped for the violation, Terrance McNeil was identified as the driver. Ward discovered a pit bulldog in a metal cage inside the vehicle. The dog was fitted with a leather harness and had visible scars and old wounds. Also found in the vehicle were syringes believed to be used for administering medication to animals as well as chain and bolt cutters. These items are consistent with dog fighting activity.

Jones also testified that the dog seized from the vehicle was examined and she believed the dog to be trained and in “athletic state” of fitness.

In his previous conviction, Terrance McNeil was charged with committing the offense of dog fighting. With the arrest, he was deemed guilty of violating the code which states “a person is guilty of violating this code section of they own, possess, train or keep any dog with the intent that such dog shall be engaged in an exhibition of fighting with another dog.”

The motion also states that at the end of the sentence of prison and probation periods he shall not own, possess, keep, tend, feed, train or have contact with any dog or animal that may be used for fighting nor shall he mistreat any animal.

The order was approved and signed by Circuit Judge Bradley Byrne.