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February 29, 2012

Suspected Florida Dogfighting Operation Raided

The HSUS Assisted Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in Investigation and Removed 17 Dogs from Jacksonville Property

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The Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Rescue Team assisted the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in conducting an investigation of a suspected dogfighting operation in Jacksonville, Florida, resulting in an arrest of one individual and the seizure of 17 dogs. The dogs rescued have scarring and injuries consistent with dogfighting, some with mutilated faces. Suspected dogfighting paraphernalia was also found on the property

Willie Coleman of Coleman’s Kennels was arrested and charged with 17 counts of animal fighting and one count of possessing equipment used for animal fighting, third degree felony’s in Florida. These charges carry a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

“The HSUS is committed to eradicating the sadistic sport of dogfighting, which maims or kills thousands of dogs every year,” said Chris Schindler, manager of animal fighting investigations for The HSUS. "We are grateful for the leadership of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for their dedication to this case."

“The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was happy to work with The Humane Society of the United States and assist them in bringing the investigation to a successful conclusion,” John P. Hartley, director of investigations and homeland security for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. “We also applaud the citizens who provide us, and other agencies, with these crime tips.”

The HSUS brought a mobile crime lab and assisted with the examination dogs on the scene. Experts from The HSUS were on hand to help identify and document evidence and coordinate the rescue effort. Hello Bully assisted The HSUS in handling and documenting the dogs and The Animal Care and Protective Services of Jacksonville assisted in the raid, helped with the transportation of dogs and supplied the veterinarian on the scene.

Dogfighting Facts

 

  • Dogfighting is a felony in all 50 states.
  • It is a third degree felony to own, possess, keep, or train a dog for the purpose of dogfighting in Florida.
  • Those involved in illegal dogfighting can receive up to five years in prison, a fine of no more than $5,000.
  • 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. The HSUS asks anyone with information about animal fighting criminals to call 877-TIP-HSUS (877-847-4787). Tipsters' identities are protected.

* Photos from the scene available for download through media contact.

Media Contact: Katie Jarl, 713-516-7892, kjarl@humanesociety.org

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