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August 4, 2010

The HSUS Assists Indiana Gaming Commission in Raid of Alleged Cockfighting Operation

FAIRLAND, Ind. — The Humane Society of the United States supplied key information to the Indiana Gaming Commission that led to the raid of Wally's Gamefowl Farm, a breeding operation that allegedly supplied  birds to overseas cockfights. Authorities seized more than 200 birds. Charges are pending.

"Cockfighting is a vile activity where two birds have razor-sharp knives tied to their legs and are forced to fight to the death," said John Goodwin, manager of animal fighting issues for The HSUS. "Cockfighters who think that they can get around U.S. laws by selling or fighting their roosters in other countries are seriously mistaken."

Wednesday's raid was a multi-agency effort that included the Indiana Gaming Commission, Shelby County Sheriff's Department, Casa del Toro anti-animal fighting organization, Monroe County Humane Association and City of Bloomington Animal Care & Control.

An animal fighting expert with The Humane Society of the United States supplied professional expertise by identifying potential evidence.

"We hope that today's actions send a clear message to all animal fighters in Indiana: Our state will not be a refuge for your blood sport," said Larry Rollins, director of the gaming control division for the Indiana Gaming Commission.

This investigation began after Wally Clemons, the alleged owner of the operation, gave an interview to Pit Games, a cockfighting publication based in the Philippines. In the interview Clemons said, "Any breeder would tell you that the hardest aspect of raising fowl is to keep them from killing or damaging themselves or others until they're old enough to sell or use."

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 will be protected.

About Cockfighting:

  • 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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