April 13, 2016
Authorities Raid Suspected Cockfighting Operation in Wayne County, West Virginia
An investigation prompted by an anonymous tip led local authorities to a suspected cockfighting operation in Fort Gay, West Virginia, on Tuesday. Huntington Cabell Wayne Humane Officers, along with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, served a search warrant on a property where they suspected birds used for cockfighting were bred and housed. They discovered 131 live birds and three dead birds, as well as knives, gaffs and other equipment associated with cockfighting and numerous cockfighting trophies. One individual was arrested on felony drug possession charges and 10 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. The Humane Society of the United States assisted in the case.
Heather Severt, West Virginia state director for The HSUS, said: “Cockfighting is an inhumane blood sport that we are working hard to eradicate in West Virginia. Thankfully, our state legislature recently passed a bill to crack down on this activity by significantly increasing fines for participating in or attending an animal fight and enacting felony-level penalties for repeat offenders. We appreciate the investigative work of the Huntington Cabell Wayne Humane Officers and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office’s quick and efficient action to shut down this suspected cockfighting operation.”
HB 4201, which also prohibits gambling on an animal fight, bringing a minor to an animal fight and possessing or training an animal for fighting, will go into effect in June.
Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1491, firstname.lastname@example.org