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July 27, 2009

Taking Down Dogfighting

Taking stock of the strides made against dogfighting

The Humane Society of the United States

  • A multi-pronged approach is taking down dogfighting in the U.S. iStockphoto

No other animal organization in the country has been more aggressive successful in ending dogfighting than The HSUS.

Our battle takes place on the streets, in the schools, and in the halls of Congress, and we won't stop until this blood sport has vanished from the American landscape.

Here's a recap of our gains for dogs in the last two years alone.

Tough Laws

  • Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia passed increased penalties against animal fighting. 
  • Dogfighting is now a felony in all 50 states.
  • Congress dramatically strengthened the federal prohibition on animal fighting.

    Strict Enforcement

  • This month, The HSUS assisted in the largest dogfighting bust in U.S. history—rescuing more than 400 dogs in eight states.
  • In the last 6 months, The HSUS assisted in 114 animal fighting investigations and prosecutions.
  • In June 2009, The HSUS worked with federal law enforcement and local authorities in raiding three suspected dogfighting operations in Michigan. 
  • In May 2009, The HSUS and Alabama law enforcement raided two alleged dogfighting properties and seized more than 45 dogs.
  • Raids on dogfighting operations doubled in 2008.
  • In the last two years, we trained nearly 3,000 law enforcement officers to identify and prosecute animal fighting.

    Serious Punishment

  • Our investigations led to the apprehension of major figures in the dogfighting underworld, including Gerald "Irish Jerry" Holcomb, Al White and Ed Faron. Al White was convicted of felony dogfighting and sex crimes and received a 20-year sentence.

    Public Participation

  • We established a nationwide animal fighting tip line. Tip line information and HSUS investigative work led to raids of dozens of dogfighting operations. 

    Reward Program

  • Because of a generous grant from the Holland M. Ware Charitable Foundation, The HSUS offers a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of an animal fighter.  We have paid more than 40 rewards for successful animal fighting cases to date.

    Heightened Awareness

  • Working with The HSUS, 18 state attorneys general highlighted our reward program in news conferences and centered attention on animal fighting.
  • We produced a new video about dogfighting and distributed tens of thousands of rewards posters.

    Prevention

  • The End Dogfighting program provides community outreach and alternatives to dogfighting in urban areas impacted by this crime. We hire young men with roots in the community to mediate and intervene in dogfights, and we offer dog training classes every week. 

    What You Can Do

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