ROGERSVILLE - A man arrested in November 2012 after a wildfire allegedly uncovered a dog fighting operation agreed to have his case proceed to the grand jury. Firefighters located the alleged dog fighting operation west of Rogersville as the fire began descending the south side of Short Mountain. Charvez Nelson Francisco, 50, 3820 Proffit Lane, Knoxville, appeared in Hawkins County General Sessions Court Wednesday. He waved his right to a preliminary hearing on charges of cruelty to animals and dog fighting. The charges are now scheduled to be presented to the Hawkins County Grand Jury on February 8. In a November interview with Knoxville television station WATE, Francisco claimed he was innocent of all charges and that he loved animals. "I just took them to take care of them," said Francisco. "These are dogs I’ve had for years. Same blood line, some are rescue dogs." In that interview Francisco also said he was not involved with any kind of dog fighting, although authorities claim some of the dogs do have evidence of previous injuries that are consistent with dog fight injuries. Francisco remains free on a $10,000 bond.
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