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August 8, 2012

Suspected Pennsylvania Cockfighting Operation Raided

The Humane Society of the United States Assisted Pennsylvania State Police in Rescue of More Than 90 Birds

The Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Rescue Team assisted the Pennsylvania State Police and Washington County County Animal Response Team in a raid on a suspected cockfighting operation in Daisytown, Pa., resulting in the seizure of 92 game fowl. Suspected cockfighting paraphernalia was also found on the property.

The HSUS assisted law enforcement in seizing the animals and transporting them away from the scene. Experts from The HSUS were on hand to help identify and document evidence and coordinate the rescue effort. Washington County CART also assisted in handling and transporting the game fowl. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General assisted the state police with this investigation.

“We found more than 90 gamecocks who were bred to fight to the death with knives tied to their legs,” said Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director for The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States commends the Pennsylvania State Police, USDA, Washington County CART and District Attorney Eugene Vittone for their quick and efficient action to shut down this cockfighting operation. We urge state legislators to swiftly pass H.B. 2515, which would provide the additional tools law enforcement needs to combat this kind of animal cruelty.”

“This search is an important first step in rooting out this barbaric and inhumane activity and in putting a stop to the illegal gambling that takes place at such events,” said Washington County District Attorney Eugene Vittone. “We are grateful for the assistance and expertise of The Humane Society of the United States and Washington County CART in this case.”

Rep. Todd Stephens, R-Montgomery, has introduced legislation to help the law enforcement community combat animal fighting in the Commonwealth. Currently, animal fighting is a felony offense in Pennsylvania, but there are no prohibitions on possessing the equipment used for animal fighting. H.B. 2515 will prohibit anyone from possessing equipment or implements if they are used for animal fighting. There are major distributors of the knives that make cockfights bloodier and of the stimulants that make animals more aggressive. These apparatus serve one purpose, to support and sustain illegal animal fights.

Facts

  • Cockfighting is outlawed in all 50 states and is punished as a felony in 40.
  • Cockfighting is a felony in Pennsylvania, but the possession of cockfighting paraphernalia is still legal.
  • 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.


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

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