November 20, 2011
The HSUS Assists Monroe Police Department in Raid of Alleged Cockfighting Operation
GOLD BAR, Wash. — The Humane Society of the United States assisted in the raid of an alleged cockfighting operation in Gold Bar, Wash., by the Monroe Police Department. Local law enforcement raided the property on Sunday where game fowl were allegedly bred, trained, fought and sold for fighting purposes.
The Monroe Police Department currently has 17 adult males in custody. In Washington, cockfighting and attending a cockfight is a Class C felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison or up to a $10,000 fine. Authorities from the King County Animal Control seized 59 game fowl. Cockfighting paraphernalia was also found on the property.
“We found more than 50 gamecocks who were bred to fight to the death with knives tied to their legs,” said Eric Sakach, senior law enforcement specialist for The Humane Society of the United States. “These birds suffer violent injuries such as punctured lungs or gouged out eyes and are often left to slowly die. We commend the Monroe Police Department for their quick and efficient action to shut down this cockfighting pit.”
Sunday’s raid was a multi-agency effort that also included Snohomish County Sheriff's Office, South Snohomish County SWAT Team, Lynnwood Police Department, Washington State Gambling Commission, Seattle Animal Shelter, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Child Protective Services. An animal fighting expert with The Humane Society of the United States supplied professional expertise by identifying potential evidence.
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 is punishable by a felony in 39.
- 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.
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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.