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February 16, 2010

The HSUS Assists San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in Raid of Alleged Cockfighting Operation

National organization praises sheriff's department for swift action

YUCAIPA, Calif. — The Humane Society of the United States supplied key intelligence that led to the raid of an alleged cockfighting operation by the San Bernardino County Sherriff's Department. Authorities impounded more than 500 birds.

"According to published reports in a cockfighting magazine, the owners ran an operation encompassing the United States and Mexico," said Eric Sakach, senior law enforcement specialist for The HSUS. "The actions of the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department send a clear message to the community that San Bernardino County takes allegations of cockfighting activities seriously."

Tuesday's raid was a multi-agency effort that included the San Bernardino County Animal Control, San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office, USDA Office of Investigator General and others.  Animal fighting experts with The Humane Society of the United States supplied professional expertise and assisted in the identification of potential evidence.

"Our Rural Crimes Task force is committed to investigating agriculture related crimes and animal abuse," said San Bernardino County Sheriff Rod Hoops. We will not allow this blood sport to flourish in the County of San Bernardino."

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. Anyone with information about animal fighting criminals is asked to call 877-TIP-HSUS (847-4787). Your identity will be protected.

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. 

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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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