Attorney General Gansler, Humane Society of the United
States, Local Law Enforcement Officials Announce Animal Fighting
BALTIMORE, MD (July 17, 2008) - Attorney General Douglas Gansler,
the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and local law enforcement
officials have teamed up to announce that the HSUS is offering
up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction
of any person involved in illegal animal fighting. Cockfighting
and dogfighting are felonies in Maryland, punishable by up to three
years of imprisonment and/or a maximum $5,000 fine.
“Animal fighting is a vicious crime that often has direct
ties to other illegal activity like drugs and gangs,” said
Attorney General Gansler. “My office is pleased to partner
with the Humane Society of the United States to help increase reports
of animal fighting and decrease the number of animals harmed or
killed by this inhumane activity.”
“Cockfighters and dogfighters are criminals who train animals
to fight to the death — for nothing more than to gamble and
to feed their own sick sense of entertainment,” said John
Goodwin, manager of animal fighting issues for The HSUS. “The
Humane Society of the United States is grateful to Attorney General
Gansler for his support in cracking down on animal fighters in
Animal fighting “contests” are abhorrent spectacles
in which animals are pitted in bloody duels — often to
the death — for human entertainment. These cruel and illicit
encounters are spawning grounds for other criminal activities,
including drugs and violence, dragging down entire communities.
Credible studies and law enforcement experts agree that people
who engage in this kind of violence against animals are likely
to exert violence against people.
“Dog fighting is a cruel and inhumane activity that poses
a danger not only to the dogs involved but also to the general
public,” said Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott
Shellenberger. “Dogs that are trained and conditioned to
fight pose a threat to innocent members of the community, particularly
children. That is why programs like this one being launched today
are so important.”
“This new effort is a perfect example of the importance
of partnerships in effective law enforcement,” said Baltimore
County Police Chief Jim Johnson. “In this effort, the Humane
Society of the United States, state government, and local government
are working jointly to tackle a serious crime. Together we are
taking an important step forward in our communities.”
This reward program is made possible by a grant from the Holland
M. Ware Charitable Foundation.
Animal Fighting Reward Program Instructions:
- If you have information
about illegal animal fighting in Maryland, call your local
law enforcement or animal control
agency. If you wish to remain anonymous, let the agent whom
you give your tip to know that you do not want your identity
to the public, but are interested in The HSUS’ reward.
the suspected animal fighter is convicted, ask the law enforcement
agency involved in the case to write a letter to The HSUS.
- The letter should
state that your tip helped lead to the arrest and prosecution
of the convicted animal fighter and should
be mailed or faxed to:
C/O Ann Chynoweth
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L St. NW
Washington, DC 20037
is a criminal industry; more than 250,000 dogs are placed
in dogfighting pits each year.
- The HSUS estimates
that 40,000 people follow organized dogfighting
circuits across the U.S. while an additional 100,000 meet
on neighborhood streets, alleys and hideaways.
- A Chicago Police
Department study showed that 65 percent of people charged with
abuse crimes — including dogfighting — were
also charged with violent crimes against people.
- Tens of thousands
of people are involved in cockfighting nationwide.
- Common cockfighting
practices include breeding birds for viciousness, drugging
them to heighten aggression, and fitting their legs
with razor-sharp knives or gaffs resembling ice picks on their legs.
- Law enforcement
raids across the country have revealed that cockfights, which
are frequently attended by children, often involve
gambling and — as a result of the large amount of cash present — firearms
and other weapons are also often present.
- Law enforcement
officials have documented a strong connection between cockfighting and the
distribution of illegal drugs.
- Breeding and transporting
fighting roosters for cockfighting is implicated in the spread
of diseases such
Newcastle Disease, which can decimate the poultry industry.