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June 18, 2012

The HSUS Applauds Prosecution of David Tracy Davis for Federal Animal Fighting and Wildlife Crimes

The Humane Society of the United States applauds the United States Attorney’s office for taking swift legal action against Virginia resident David Tracy Davis on various animal abuse-related offenses. Davis plead guilty to multiple federal offenses including  the sale of fighting gamecocks, a violation of the federal Lacey Act for the sale of illegally poached bear organs, and a violation of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act for the possession of protected migratory birds.

In November 2011, The HSUS’ Animal Rescue Team assisted the USDA Office of Inspector General, the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Virginia Attorney General’s office in the rescue of more than 100 animals from Davis’ home in Roseland, Va. Game fowl, hunting dogs, horses and pigs were rescued from the property. The HSUS provided funds and other resources during the two-year investigation of this case.

The Humane Society of the United States expressed its thanks to the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia, the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Virginia Department of Agriculture, and the Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force for their efforts in this case.

“It’s rare to find illegal animal fighting wrapped up with poaching and the trade in wildlife parts, but it demonstrates the significance of this case and its range of impacts on animals both domestic and wild,” said Laura Donahue, Virginia state director for The HSUS. “We are grateful to federal and state law enforcement officials for taking action to crack down on animal fighting and wildlife trafficking.”

Cockfighting is a barbaric and inhumane practice, and common 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. The two roosters fight each other to the death while spectators place bets.

Bear gallbladders are literally worth their weight in gold overseas and the illegal trade in them threatens wild American bears and highly endangered Asian bears. Cases like this are an excellent reminder of the crucial role that federal laws like the Lacey Act play in bringing those who exploit wildlife to justice and how essential it is that we preserve these vital tools for law enforcement.

Facts:

·         Under the Animal Welfare Act it is a federal offense to sell an animal for the purpose of fighting, when interstate commerce is affected, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

·         The Lacey Act is one of the oldest federal wildlife protection laws.  Currently pending federal legislation, House Bill 4171 and its companion, Senate Bill 2062, would severely weaken the Lacey Act, one of the federal laws that Mr. Davis was prosecuted under.

 

Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, (240) 751-3943, stwining@humanesociety.org

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