Across Georgia

Proposal would stiffen dogfighting penalties


ATLANTA --- People who hold dogfights or train their canines for dogfighting could face felony charges under a House measure approved Wednesday by a legislative committee.

The bill would for the first time make it a felony to hold or bet in a dogfight, and to sell, train or transport fighting dogs. A first offense would carry a prison term of up to five years, a minimum $5,000 fine or both.

It would also allow prosecutors to charge dog fight spectators with a misdemeanor. A similar proposal was approved in the Senate last year but never reached a vote in the House.

School cancels class to mourn president

ATLANTA --- Classes at Marist School will be canceled Friday for the funeral of its president, Father Richmond Egan.

The Rev. Egan died Saturday at St. Joseph's Hospital after suffering an embolism Jan. 2. He was 67. He served 40 years as a Marist priest and worked in secondary and undergraduate education. He was the executive vice president of the 1,071-student Catholic school in Dunwoody before becoming president seven years ago.

Couple, 9-year-old die in morning house fire

EASTMAN --- A Dodge County couple and their 9-year-old son were killed in an early morning fire at their home Wednesday, authorities said.

Allen and Beverly Hulett, 40 and 38, and their son Colby died in a blaze that started shortly after 2 a.m. in Rhine, Sheriff Lawton Douglas said.

Because the house was extensively damaged, the cause was not known, Sheriff Douglas said. Firefighters found Mr. Hulett in the living room, and his wife and son in a bedroom. Investigators with the state Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner's office joined local authorities in the investigation, although Sheriff Douglas said no criminal activity was suspected.

Man is charged with puppy's fatal beating

SMYRNA --- A man has been arrested after being accused of beating a puppy to death for urinating on his leg.

Mitchell Woodward, 22, has been charged with a felony count of cruelty to animals. Police responded to a call at a home Saturday and found the 3-month-old puppy's body, Smyrna police Sgt. Robert Harvey said. Police said the dog's body was discovered in a beer box after Mr. Woodward's sister awoke to what she described to police as "a thumping noise downstairs." After checking, the sister found a large amount of blood, and the dead dog in the basement.

Although Mr. Woodward tried to clean the scene before leaving the home, police say blood spatter remained on the floor and walls.

-- Edited from wire reports