David Tant, one of South Carolina’s most notorious dogfighters who was also ranked the No. 2 breeder of fighting pit bulls in the nation, missed parole this week by one vote after serving only six years of a 30 year sentence.
Tant, now 63, was arrested in 2004 after Steven Baker, a surveyor, was shot and injured by a trap set at Tant’s residence in Charleston County, which gave authorities probable cause to search his property.
They uncovered a number of tools used in the underground dog-fighting industry including caged treadmills, cattle prods, harnesses, a bear trap, homemade gun silencers, dog-fighting magazines, explosives and the leftover remains of a dog-fighting ring.
They also seized 47 dogs, many which were scarred and showed signs of abuse, who were later euthanized after being deemed too aggressive for adoption.
Tant plead guilty to 41 counts of dogfighting and one count of assault and battery for injuring Baker. He was originally sentenced to 40 years in prison, which was reduced to 30 after he paid $80,000 in restitution to cover the cost of caring for his seized dogs.
South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster urged the board to deny parole this week stating that, it would be “a miscarriage of justice” to let him out early and further described the conditions on Tant’s property as a “chamber of horrors.”
While Tant has some supporters, animal rights activists also presented over 5,000 signatures from people who oppose Tant’s early release.
Because the vote was not unanimous, Tant will get another hearing that will involve a vote by a full seven-member parole board tentatively within the next two months.
“I have much humility and remorse for my past,” said Tant. “That man from six years ago is dead and gone, never to live again.”
Tant claims to be a changed man and is now asking for the mercy that he refused to show helpless animals who had no choice. He had a choice.
Psychologists hold little hope for the rehabilitation of people who have no empathy and no conscious toward inflicting pain. At best sometimes we can only separate such people from our society.
If you think Tant should serve the rest of his sentence, sign the Charleston Animal Society’s petition urging the board to deny Tant parole.
You can also contact the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services directly with your comments regarding David Tant, inmate #306170 at www.dppps.sc.gov.
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