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May 4, 2010

The HSUS Assists San Luis Obispo County Sheriff on Cockfighting Raid

National organization praises law enforcement for taking swift action

  • Besides being cruel, cockfighting often goes hand in hand with gambling, drug dealing, illegal gun sales and violence. Ariana Huemer/HSUS

  • In a cockfight, two roosters fight each other to the death while people place bets. Ariana Huemer/HSUS

  • The HSUS assisted deputies in tagging and impounding the fighting birds. David Bernazani

NIPOMO, Calif. — The Humane Society of the United States provided support and expertise to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department  in  raiding a suspected cockfighting locale in Central California. Authorities impounded more than 600 birds and found what appear to be a fighting arena, training area, cockfighting implements and publications devoted to the illegal blood sport.

"Cockfighting enterprises drag down entire communities and relegate untold thousands of roosters to brutal injuries and deaths in the ring," said Eric Sakach, senior law enforcement specialist for The HSUS. "The Humane Society of the United States commends the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department Rural Crime Task Force for taking allegations of cockfighting crimes seriously."

Sakach, an animal fighting expert with more than 30 years of experience, led The HSUS' 10-person team and assisted in the identification of potential evidence.

"We believe that cockfighting promotes additional criminal activity," said Commander Brian Hascall, SLO County Sheriff South Station. "Our Rural Crime Task Force deputies do an excellent job coordinating these efforts."

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:

  • Cockfighting is illegal in every state, and all animal fighting that affects interstate commerce is punishable as a federal felony under the Animal Welfare Act.
  • Common cockfighting practices include breeding birds for viciousness, drugging them to heighten aggression, and fitting their legs with deadly weapons — that is, razor-sharp knives or gaffs, which resemble curved ice picks.
  • Law enforcement raids across the country have, again and again, documented the connection between cockfights and other crimes — including distribution of illegal drugs and weapons violations due to the large amounts of cash present for gambling.
  • Despite common sense and reason, children are often brought to cockfights by their parents — which may expose them to animal cruelty and rampant crime.

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching "HumaneTV" in the App Store.

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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