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Sweetwyne gets 60 months for role in New Site dog fights

Published 8:07pm Tuesday, April 1, 2014

One of six individuals indicted for dog-fighting and animal cruelty charges pleaded guilty Tuesday.

Roderick Sweetwyne, 42, pleaded guilty to four counts of dogfighting and one counts of possession of a controlled substance.

Judge Tom Young presided over the proceedings.

In the original indictment, Sweetwyne was charged with four counts of dog fighting, four counts of animal cruelty and two counts of possession of a controlled substance.

In the deal, the state dropped the four animal cruelty charges and one possession of a controlled substance.

Sweetwyne received 60 months for both the dogfighting charges and the possession charges, to be served concurrently.

He has been ordered to pay court fines and costs, in addition to restitution. The state of Alabama has 30 days to determine what restitution will be, but New Site Police Chief John McKelvey said it was going to be “a substantial amount of restitution.”

“Restitution will also include the housing of the animals while we were waiting to come to court,” McKelvey said.

Since dog fighting is a non-guideline crime in Alabama, McKelvey said there is no specific time given to those convicted of the crime. Therefore, sentencing is left up to the discretion of the judge.

“I am pleased with it – he is going to prison,” McKelvey said. “I think this sets the precedent for the county and circuit here that if you fight dogs, you are going to prison.”

The other five individuals named in the some 160-count indictment have yet to have their cases resolved.