SAPULPA, Okla. (AP) _ A Sapulpa couple pleaded innocent Tuesday to 53 charges alleging they ran a dog fighting ring on their Creek County property.
James and Jeanne Fiarris were charged Dec. 2 with counts including possessing dogs for fighting, facilitating a dog fight, keeping a place and equipment for dog fighting and animal cruelty.
The pair, who are free on bond, were in Creek County Court for an arraignment Tuesday. A judge set a Jan. 22 conference hearing for the Fiarrises and Roger Scott and Steven King.
The couple, Scott and King were arrested last month after officers conducted a sting operation prompted by complaints from neighbors about high traffic and numerous dogs at the Fiarris home north of Kellyville.
Creek County authorities say James Fiarris, 56, told an undercover officer that he has sold dogs for fighting for two or three years.
Authorities say they found three arenas and 53 pit bull terriers on the property Nov. 27 after deputies and state troopers served a search warrant. Blood covered the arenas' walls, authorities say.
Scott, a Tulsa city employee, is charged with possessing dogs for fighting. The 50-year-old Catoosa resident is free on bond.
King, 37, of Broken Arrow, was charged with encouraging dogfighting. He has also been released on bond.
Two of the pit bull terriers were hurt badly enough to need medical attention, authorities say. The others appeared to be in fair shape, though many had scrapes and cuts.
Dogfighting has been illegal in Oklahoma since 1961.