A high-ranking Pentagon official has been involved in dogfighting since at least 2002 and is accused of executing dogs that performed “poorly” in fights, according to a federal criminal complaint.
Department of Defense Deputy Chief Information Officer Frederick Douglass Moorefield Jr., 62, of Arnold, Maryland, and his friend Mario Damon Flythe, 49, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, are charged with facilitating a dog fighting ring, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland announced in an Oct. 2 news release.
On Sept. 6, FBI agents searched Moorefield’s home, where they found five caged “pit bull-type dogs” in “a windowless room” of his basement along with items used to strengthen dogs for fighting — including “weighted collars and heavy metal chains” — and a device “used for involuntarily inseminating female dogs,” the affidavit says.
Agents also found blood stains from dogfights on the walls of Moorefield’s basement and “an electrical plug and jumper cables suspected of being used to kill dogs who lost dogfights,” according to prosecutors and the affidavit.
Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman told McClatchy News in a statement on Oct. 3 that the Department of Defense is “aware of the criminal complaint” filed against Moorefield, who no longer holds his Pentagon position.
“We can confirm that the individual is no longer in the workplace, but we cannot comment further on an individual personnel matter,” Gorman said and referred further inquiries to the Justice Department.
FBI agents also searched Flythe’s home on Sept. 6 and seized seven “pit-bull type” dogs, the affidavit says. He’s accused of breeding and training dogs there based on the evidence found at his property, including metal cages in the backyard, weighted collars and other items, according to the affidavit.
Information regarding legal representation for Moorefield and Flythe wasn’t listed in court records as of Oct. 3.
“As ugly and horrific as it is, dogfighting can be found just beneath the surface of civil society, with the perpetrators maintaining the veneer of mainstream participation in society,” Wayne Pacelle, the president of Animal Wellness Action, a Washington, D.C.-based animal advocacy organization, said in an Oct. 3 statement in regards to the charges against Moorefield and Flythe.
“No dog should endure the kind of pain and torment that fighting animals endure in the pit and after their handlers decide they are no longer useful to them,” Pacelle said.
Fighting dogs ‘disposed’ of
The search of Moorefield’s home came nearly five years after Anne Arundel County animal control officers found the bodies of two injured dogs inside a dog food bag in Annapolis, about 6 miles away from Moorefield’s house, in November 2018, the affidavit says.
Officers also found pieces of mail belonging to Moorefield inside the bag, according to the affidavit.
“I conclude from the contents of the bag that Moorefield disposed of dead fighting dogs along with other pieces of his trash,” FBI Special Agent Ryan C. Daly wrote in the affidavit.
Daly suspects the dogs died during a dogfight, based on their wounds, or that “Moorefield killed each of them afterwards for performing poorly,” according to the affidavit.
During the recent search of Moorefield’s home, he told Daly that animal control officers and Anne Arundel authorities have previously visited his home, the affidavit says.
No charges ever arose from those visits, according to the affidavit.
More on the case
Moorefield, Flythe and others are accused of regularly discussing dogfighting ventures and betting on fights over an “encrypted messaging application,” prosecutors said.
Moorefield and Flythe are accused of sponsoring a dogfight in May 2023, when they placed a $1,500 bet on it, the affidavit says.
When discussing their own “dogfighting operations,” Moorefield would go by the nickname “Geehad Kennels” and Flythe went by “Razor Sharp Kennels,” prosecutors said.
At Moorefield’s home, agents found a weighted dog vest with a “Geehad Kennels” label on it, according to the affidavit.
Both Moorefield and Flythe are affiliated with other people prosecuted in separate dogfighting cases, the affidavit says.
If Moorefield and Flythe are convicted on the charges against them, they’ll face up to five years in prison, according to prosecutors.