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June 18, 2009

Michigan Dogfighting Raids

The HSUS assisted in raids on three suspected operations

The Humane Society of the United States

  • Hundreds of thousands of dogs suffer annually in dogfights. Chad Sisneros/The HSUS

On Wednesday, June 17, The Humane Society of the United States accompanied federal law enforcement agents and local authorities in raiding three suspected dogfighting properties in rural areas of eastern Michigan. Authorities seized nearly 50 dogs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General (OIG) led the coordinated raids.

While dogfighting is a felony in Michigan, it is also a federal felony to knowingly sell, buy, possess or train any dog for purposes of having the animal participate in a dogfight that involves interstate commerce.

The HSUS assisted with the investigation leading to Wednesday’s raids, and provided assistance on the scene with evidence collection and seizure. The Michigan Humane Society and Missouri Humane Society helped handling dogs on the scene.

"Dogfighting is a criminal underground industry that breeds horrible animal suffering and violence," said Chris Schindler, deputy manager of animal fighting law enforcement for The HSUS, one of several HSUS investigators who participated in the raids.

"We commend the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General for their diligence in pursuing this investigation. Step by step, this nationwide business enterprise built on misery is being dismantled."

Dogfighting Facts

  • The HSUS is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization in combating organized animal fighting. We offer up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in these crimes. The HSUS' animal fighting reward program has been made possible by a grant by the Holland M. Ware Charitable Foundation, which is based in Atlanta.
  • Dogfighting is a criminal industry; more than 250,000 dogs suffer horribly and often die in dogfighting pits each year.
  • The HSUS estimates that 40,000 people follow organized dogfighting circuits across the United States, while an additional 100,000 meet on neighborhood streets, alleys and hideaways.
  • The HSUS, according to its policy, will recommend that dogs seized in these raids be evaluated for adoption suitability.
  • A Chicago Police Department study showed that 65% of people charged with animal abuse crimes—including dogfighting—were also charged with violent crimes against people.

    What You Can Do

    Learn the signs of dogfighting activity in your community, and how to fight back.

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