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July 8, 2009

The HSUS Assists in Largest Dogfighting Raid in US History

Hundreds of Dogs Rescued from Multiple Suspected Dogfighting Operations in 6 States

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States assisted federal, state and local authorities in the unprecedented rescue of hundreds of dogs from multiple organized dogfighting operations. Following a lengthy investigation spurred by evidence collected by The Humane Society of Missouri, Wednesday morning officers from multiple federal and state law enforcement agencies made arrests and seized dogs in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. This is the largest simultaneous raid of multiple dogfighting operations in the history of the United States.

"This intervention is a momentous victory in our ongoing battle to end the cruel, criminal dogfighting industry," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. "The Humane Society of the United States thanks the USDA Office of Inspector General and the Humane Society of Missouri for their commitment to eradicating this nationwide business enterprise that thrives off the pain and suffering of dogs. With each raid we get one step closer to ending this cruel blood sport."

The Humane Society of the United States acted as lead animal welfare agency in the rescues in Texas and Oklahoma, and assisted the Humane Society of Missouri with the rescues conducted in Missouri and Illinois. The HSUS was called in by The HSMO more than a year ago to provide expert assistance with this rescue. The HSMO worked in cooperation with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Attorney to orchestrate this immense operation. The ASPCA, United Animal Nations and PetSmart Charities® are also assisting in various aspects of the rescue and sheltering efforts.

For more than a month The HSUS has been doing logistical preparation for the raids, transporting equipment and specialized emergency shelter kenneling for hundreds of dogs to Missouri. Dozens of HSUS experts and volunteers have gathered to provide animal handling, transport, sheltering and documentation assistance. Many of the dogs rescued from these dogfighting operations will be taken to the emergency shelter in specially designed animal transport vehicles provided by The HSUS. 

While they are being cared for, each dog will be evaluated by animal behavior experts from the Humane Society of Missouri and other organizations to determine their suitability for possible placement with rescue groups or individual adopters.

This rescue operation is a great example of how national and local animal welfare organizations can work together to combat the barbaric animal fighting industry.

Facts:

  • Organized dogfighting is illegal everywhere in the United States and is a felony in all 50 states. To see a ranking of state dogfighting laws, visit humanesociety.org.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Video from other dogfighting rescue operations is available at video.hsus.org.

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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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