Two men found innocent of cruelty to animals in June have filed a lawsuit against the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office and Deputy Richard Sapcut, who investigated the incident.

In the lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in London, Joe C. Lewis Jr. and Dalton Brewer, claim negligence, false statements and malicious prosecution on Sapcut’s part resulted in a Laurel County Grand Jury returning an indictment against the men. The men seek unspecified damages and punitive damages from the sheriff’s office and Sapcut.

Sapcut claimed Joe Lewis Jr., Brewer and a third defendant, Joe Lewis III were organizing dog fights in Laurel County, using more than 60 dogs in the dog fighting ring and kept a stray dog which was used as a sparring partner for the fighting dogs.

“Defendant Sapcut’s false and defamatory statements to the press damaged the Plantiff’s reputations so badly that some members of the public went so far as to call for physical harm to Plantiff Lewis and Plantiff Brewer,” the men claim in the lawsuit.

Lewis III, Brewer and Joe Lewis II were arrested in July after Laurel County Sheriff’s deputies were called to 429 Adams Road in North Corbin to investigate an anonymous complaint that the men were in the back yard fighting the dogs.

Deputies Richard Sapcut, Robert Mitchell and John Inman reported finding two dogs, a Saint Bernard mix and a pit bull, with scars.

Deputies said the Saint Bernard was chained to a stairwell near the home, only being let loose to fight the pit bull.

In Aug. 2008, a grand jury returned indictments against the three men. In October, then Circuit Court Judge Roderick Messer approved the commonwealth’s motion to dismiss the charges against Joe Lewis Jr.

Following seven hours of testimony in Laurel Circuit Court, it took a jury about an hour to return the not-guilty verdict against Joe Lewis III and Brewer.

Neither defendant has filed a response to the lawsuit. No trial date has been set.

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