December 18, 2010
Alleged Cockfighting Operation in Dallas Busted
The HSUS supplied undercover cockfighting video to authorities
DALLAS — The Humane Society of the United States supplied key information that led to the raid of an alleged cockfighting operation in Southeast Dallas, by the Dallas Police Department. Local law enforcement swarmed the location where cruel cockfights were reportedly occurring in a large run-down structure on a regular basis.
Several people were detained on the scene by the Dallas Police Department, and others may later face charges related to Saturday’s raid. Authorities from the Dallas Animal Control seized approximately 100 roosters from the scene.
Engaging in the act of cockfighting is a felony in Texas. First and second time offenders may face 180 dayss—2 years in state jail with a $10,000 fine, while third time offenders may face 2-10 years with a $10,000 fine. Texas is one of only six states where it’s legal to attend a cockfight, to possess birds for the purpose of cockfighting, and to possess cockfighting weapons.
However, many of the people at the cockfight were released without charge because Texas animal cruelty laws do not prohibit attending cockfights, despite the fact that spectators fuel this activity with their admission fees and gambling dollars. The HSUS is supporting efforts to strengthen the cockfighting law in Texas to prohibit attending cockfights or possessing birds for the purposes of fighting them which will close this glaring loophole in existing law.
John Goodwin, manager of Animal Fighting Issues at The HSUS, supplied professional expertise at the scene by identifying potential evidence.
“Today we found scores of roosters who had been brought to fight to the death with knives tied to their legs,” said Goodwin. “Many birds injured in the fights were simply thrown in a pile and left to slowly die. We commend the Dallas Police Department for their quick and efficient action to shut down this cockfighting pit.”
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.
- 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
- 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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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.