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March 4, 2013

The HSUS Applauds Cleveland Authorities for Taking Action to Crack Down on Alleged Cockfighting Operation

The HSUS urges passage of felony cockfighting law

Karen Minton, Ohio state director for The Humane Society of the United States, issued the following statement in response to a large cockfighting raid in Cleveland Saturday:

“Ohio is the only state in the Great Lakes region lacking felony penalties for cockfighting. Until the General Assembly brings our laws in line with those of our neighbors, we will continue to be a hotspot for this cruel activity. The Humane Society of the United States applauds law enforcement for its quick response during this raid, and we urge lawmakers to provide prosecutors with the tools they need to hold those involved in this gruesome form of animal cruelty accountable.”

Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states and is punishable as a felony in 40 states. A landmark eight-point animal welfare agreement between The HSUS, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the Ohio Poultry Association and other agriculture groups was reached in 2010. Passage of a felony cockfighting law is the only point left undone in that agreement.

According to media reports, 43 live and eight dead roosters were found during the raid, and nearly 40 people were detained. Not only does cockfighting cause great misery to animals, it is known to go hand-in-hand with other crimes. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency has discovered Mexican drug cartels running narcotics through cockfighting pits. Last year, three cockfights ended in fatal shoot-outs, including two in Texas and one in California.

Media Contact: Rebecca Basu, 240-753-4875, rbasu@humanesociety.org

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