July 24, 2010
The HSUS Assists with Randolph County, N.C. Cockfighting Raid
National organization also helps seize 400 hens living in deplorable conditions
ASHEBORO, N.C. — The Humane Society of the United States assisted the Randolph County Sheriff's Office, Asheboro Police Department and Randolph County Health Department on Saturday at the raid of a suspected cockfighting operation that uncovered widespread animal cruelty. Utilizing The HSUS' mobile animal crimes lab, a state-of-the-art forensics vehicle, staff experts documented and collected evidence at the scene.
David Gallimore, the reported owner of the operation, was charged, along with six other people, with seven counts of felony cockfighting. Authorities seized 24 roosters, 21 live—one who was disemboweled—and three dead.
"In my years as an animal fighting investigator, I have seen a lot of animal suffering, but what I saw today was some of the worst," said Chris Schindler, manager of animal fighting law enforcement for The Humane Society of the United States. "The sight of a rooster still alive after he was cut open by his opponent’s knife exposing most of his organs, left me feeling sickened and made me even more determined to eradicate cockfighting from the United States."
In addition to the cockfighting operation, investigators removed more than 400 hens who were living in deplorable conditions. The emaciated hens were found in a building with the heaters turned on despite the near 100-degree temperatures outside. Many had burns on their feet and skin from standing in their own urine. Law enforcement officers said they plan to file additional cruelty charges on Monday.
The Randolph County Animal Control department assisted in the raid by handling, documenting and transporting the roosters.
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). Tipsters' identities are protected.
- In 2005, The HSUS helped win passage of legislation that made cockfighting a felony in North Carolina.
- 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 Mobile Animal Crimes Lab was made possible thanks to a grant from the Florida-based Folke H. Peterson Charitable Foundation.
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.