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June 18, 2009

The HSUS Assists Federal Law Enforcement in Crackdown of Suspected Mich. Dogfighting Operations

The Humane Society of the United States

DETROIT — Federal law enforcement agents, in cooperation with The Humane Society of the United States and local authorities, on Wednesday raided three suspected dogfighting properties in rural areas of eastern Michigan. Nearly 50 dogs were seized.

The coordinated raids were led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General.

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 dog fight that involves interstate commerce.

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

 Facts:

  • The HSUS is the nation's leading nonprofit organization in combating organized animal fighting, and offers 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 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 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 percent of people charged with animal abuse crimes — including dogfighting — were also charged with violent crimes against people.

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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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