‘Bearbaiting’ ring broken

From staff reports

POMEROY — A Meigs County man and West Virginia residents face potential felony charges after authorities interrupted an alleged event where hunting dogs were attacking a caged bear.

According to a release from the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Enforcement Division executed a search warrant along with deputies on Saturday at the residence of Clinton Bailey on Bush Road in Long Bottom. Bailey is a dangerous wild animal (DWA) permit holder who owns a bear and was allegedly charging people $20 per dog to release the canines inside an enclosure to attack the bear.

The practice, illegal under Ohio Revised Code, is known as “bearbaiting.”

Bailey, his juvenile son, seven men, two women and eight children were present at the event, the release says. Most of the participants were from West Virginia, it says.

At least one child “was observed inside an unapproved enclosure while dogs were attacking the loose bear,” the release says. Two of the males also were in possession of handguns.

“Significant video footage” of the activity was obtained by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Drone Team, the release says, with the Washington and Jackson County Sheriff’s Offices providing tactical assistance. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio State Highway Patrol also assisted.

The bear was seized by DWA program personnel. Possible charges against Bailey and all spectators present will be presented to the Meigs County prosecutor for grand jury consideration, the release says.