Daytona Beach, FL - Three Daytona Beach men are facing a long list of felony charges, after a joint effort between Volusia County’s Animal Services Division, Halifax Humane Society, the City of Daytona Beach’s Animal Control Unit, the city’s Code Enforcement Division and the Daytona Beach Police Department (DBPD). Arrested are 53-year-old Noble Geathers, 50-year-old Earl Holmes, and 33-year-old Benjamin Potter. All are charged with Felony Animal Cruelty, Animal Fighting, and Practicing Veterinary Medicine without a License.
The charges come after DBPD obtained search warrants from a Volusia County judge to enter two properties at 225 & 227 Reva Street as well as an adjacent vacant lot during the early-morning hours of February 22, 2021.
Investigators found 42 pit bulls – 24 adults and 18 puppies – living in those properties, most of them being kept outside in small kennels made of wood and wire, car carriers, or chained to car axles with little or no access to clean water or food. Many of the females were breeding new puppies for fighting.
Many dogs had no shelter and the ones that did lived in areas caked with urine and feces. Some of the dogs' collars were so tight, they had to be cut off.
A good number of the dogs were found with healing cuts or wounds on their bodies which are consistent with dogfighting.
Medical records for the dogs were maintained by the defendants along with various kinds of dog supplements and medications, including a type of medicine that is commonly used in organized dogfighting to boost red cell production as well as stamina and endurance.
All the puppies (seven females, 11 males) and adult pit bulls (20 females, four males) were removed from the care of the defendants and taken to Halifax Humane Society (HHS) for safekeeping. A court forfeiture hearing later this week could determine if those dogs will be returned to the defendants or if they will be awarded to the police department. If that happens, DBPD would sign them over to HHS in the hopes some could be adopted out in the future.
Detectives believe Geathers is the ringleader. He faces 35 charges, including 24 counts of animal fighting, 10 counts of felony cruelty to animals, and one count of practicing veterinary medicine without a license. He was arrested on March 9 and is out on bond.
Holmes is charged with 10 counts of practicing veterinary medicine without a license and 10 counts of felony cruelty to animals. He was arrested on March 3 and remains in jail on a $30,000 bond.
Ponder faces the same number of charges as Geathers plus one count each of possession of cannabis with intent to sell, possession of cocaine with intent to sell, and driving with a suspended/canceled/revoked license. He was arrested on March and has since posted bond.