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The HSUS Praises Pa. Law Enforcement for Alleged Cockfighting Bust

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization, applauds the Humane Society of Berks County and the Pennsylvania State Police for successfully seizing birds allegedly used for cockfighting from a Reading, Pa., property. According to the local humane society, the state police's vice and narcotics unit was conducting an unrelated investigation Wednesday when the fighting birds and fighting paraphernalia were found on the scene.

"Cockfighting is a cruel and barbaric practice, and those who benefit financially or feed their sick sense of entertainment by making birds hack each other to pieces should be punished," said Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director for The HSUS. "We are glad to know that Pennsylvania's cockfighting law is being enforced and are grateful to the Humane Society of Berks County and Pennsylvania State Police for cracking down on this form of animal cruelty."

In Pennsylvania, possessing birds for fighting is a 3rd degree felony, punishable by up to seven years of imprisonment and/or a maximum $15,000 fine. The HSUS offers rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person involved in illegal animal fighting. 

About Cockfighting:

  • Tens of thousands of people are involved in cockfighting nationwide.
  • Common cockfighting practices include breeding birds for viciousness, drugging them to heighten aggression and fitting their legs with razor-sharp knives or gaffs, which resemble curved ice picks.
  • Law enforcement raids across the country have revealed that cockfights, which are frequently attended by children, often involve firearms and other weapons due to the large amounts of cash present for gambling.
  • Law enforcement officials have documented a strong connection between cockfighting and the distribution of illegal drugs. 


The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — on the Web at humanesociety.org.

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