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August 11, 2009

Indiana Dogfighting Busts

Two alleged dogfighting operations raided in Indiana

The Humane Society of the United States

  • Many dogs were living in squalid conditions. iStockphoto

On August 11, 2009, The Humane Society of the United States assisted authorities in raids on two separate, alleged dogfighting operations in Indiana.

The Indiana Gaming Commission and Indiana State Police led the raid in which one person was arrested and more than 90 dogs, along with alleged dogfighting paraphernalia, were seized.

Law enforcement officials requested animal fighting experts with The Humane Society of the United States to identify dogfighting paraphernalia and assist with the investigations.

"Dogfighting is a criminal underground industry that breeds horrible animal suffering and violence," said Adam Parascandola, animal fighting investigator for The Humane Society of the United States. "We commend the Indiana Gaming Commission for working with numerous agencies to conduct these successful investigations."

First Property: Nine Dogs

Brian E. Denny, the apparent owner of an operation in French Lick, Ind., was preliminarily charged with possessing an animal for the purpose of animal fighting contests. Authorities seized nine dogs from the property, some showing scars consistent with dogfighting, and alleged dogfighting paraphernalia.

Second Property: More Than 80 Dogs

Eli Taylor, the owner of the property seven miles southeast of Paoli, Ind., has yet to be located. Authorities seized more than 80 dogs from the property. Some of the dogs had scars consistent with dogfighting.

Veterinarians with Purdue University Veterinary Science Department assisted with the raid and evaluated the seized dogs for evidence of animal fighting. The Humane Society of Missouri led area animal welfare organizations including Albany Floyd County Animal Shelter, Bloomington Animal Care & Control and Monroe County Humane Association on handling and transporting the dogs.

Additional law enforcement agencies represented during Tuesday's raids include the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, US Marshal Service and the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Facts

  • The HSUS, according to its policy, will recommend that dogs seized in these raids be evaluated for adoption suitability.
  • It is a Class D felony to own, possess, keep or train a dog for the purpose of dogfighting in Indiana.
  • Those involved in illegal dogfighting can receive up to three years in prison, a fine of no more than $10,000 or both.
  • The HSUS offers up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in animal fighting. The HSUS' animal fighting reward program has been made possible thanks to a grant by the Holland M. Ware Charitable Foundation, which is based in Atlanta.  
  • Dogfighting is a criminal industry; more than 250,000 dogs are placed in dogfighting pits each year.
  • The HSUS estimates that 40,000 people follow organized dogfighting circuits across the U.S. while an additional 100,000 meet on neighborhood streets, alleys and hideaways.
  • A Chicago Police Department study showed that 65 percent of people charged with animal abuse crimes—including dogfighting—were also charged with violent crimes against people.

    The HSUS has a worked for more than a half-century to rid the nation of the scourge of this bloody activity.

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