Putnam County Sheriff Homer “Gator” DeLoach confirmed that Alvoid Wilson Kennon, 38, a convicted felon, is among several people detectives have been investigating for suspected involvement in the dog fighting just minutes before midnight Dec. 19, 2015, off Azalea Lane.
A Bradenton police detective — who’s also a task force officer in the the FBI Tampa office — described Kennon as “a highly sought after person in the dog fighting realm…(who) has been known to organize and participate in dog fighting.”
That officer told Putnam detectives to continue investigating but not to arrest Kennon until after he finished his own investigation, which would take several months or longer, according to Sheriff’s Office reports.
A federal grand jury Dec. 15, 2016, indicted Kennon on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition – a charge FBI spokeswoman Andrea Aprea said is separate from the Putnam dog-fighting case.
Kennon, who’s pleaded not guilty, faces trial Feb. 27 in federal court in Tampa. He was arraigned Jan. 11 – five days after Putnam deputies arrested a Hawthorne woman on three state counts of felony animal fighting.
DeLoach said Kennon could face Putnam County charges as the dog-fighting investigation continues.
“I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. You know the federal firearm charges will probably take precedent but that’s not to say that he won’t be somehow implicated in this dog fighting case and maybe charged criminally at a later date,” DeLoach said. He declined to speculate what those charges might be.
A woman answering the telephone listed in federal court records for Kennon said he wasn’t there Tuesday. She initially offered to get a message to him, then snapped, “don’t ever call here again” and hung up when a Times-Union reporter identified herself. The newspaper couldn’t reach Kennon’s federal court-appointed public defender.
Kennon’s criminal record includes multiple convictions dating back to 2009 on Manatee County charges including aggravated assault with a weapon, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, possession of cocaine, sale of cocaine, and sale of a counterfeit controlled substance, according to his federal indictment.
In 2012, Kennon was arrested on 10 counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and a single count of cruelty to animals in Manatee County. However, prosecutors dropped all those charges in 2013 for reasons unexplained in online court records Tuesday.
What relationship, if any, between Kennon and the woman at the center of the dog-fighting investigation was unclear Tuesday. Two Bradenton residents with the same last name as Kennon are listed as possible witnesses in her case by both her defense attorney and prosecutors, Putnam County court records show.
Ruth Renae Bryant, 44, was the first person publicly charged in the Putnam case. She pleaded not guilty Monday to three counts of animal fighting – a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $5,000 on each count under Florida law.
Sheriff’s deputies seized 19 dogs including two bleeding from wounds all over their body that were fighting in a homemade arena fashioned from plywood and illuminated with portable lights that night. They also confiscated two shotguns, a 9mm handgun reported stolen in Sarasota and veterinary medical supplies when they busted the event. Authorities euthanized two of the dogs – one due to the severity of its injuries and the other because it was too aggressive to safely place with a new owner.
DeLoach said evidence implicates Bryant in the dog fighting.
The illicit event attracted at least 100 spectators who made a beeline into the woods when deputies arrived.
Bryant met investigating deputies as they walked down a dirt trail toward the dog fighting arena that night. In addition, an orange electrical extension cord and a water hose ran directly from inside Bryant’s home through the trees and underbrush to the dog pit, according to Sheriff’s Office reports.
A month before the bust, sheriff’s deputies who went to Bryant’s home on another matter saw 20 dogs in the woods behind her home. A deck was being built south of the house near two dogs in crates. Bryant told deputies the dogs belonged to her son.
In an interview with the Times-Union last week, Bryant denied vehemently involvement in the dog fighting that was going on behind her home on Azalea Lane. She accused Putnam authorities of making her a scapegoat in the case, and insisted she didn’t know anyone who was doing it.
(Jacksonville.com - Feb 7, 2017)