The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is aiding the rescue of nearly 600 birds and dogs as part of an animal fighting investigation.
The search warrants were executed by the Indiana Gaming Commission in Morgan and Owen counties after authorities received a Crime Stoppers tip that the animals were supposedly being trained for fighting.
In Owen County, investigators searched a farm and they recovered more than 550 birds and nine pit bulls in that location, a release from conditions that the ASPCA described as, “consistent with dog fighting…and…commonly associated with cockfighting.”
The pit bulls were tied to heavy chains and housed in a way associated with dog fighting, while the roosters had physical alterations indicating that they were used for cockfighting. There were also animal fighting paraphernalia discovered in the properties.
Jessica Rushin, senior manager of Partnerships for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response, said:
“Animal fighting is one of the most heinous forms of animal cruelty, and sadly it is far more common in the United States than many people realize.
To betray animals by forcing them to fight for their lives for so-called entertainment is despicable. We’re proud to work alongside the Indiana Gaming Commission to remove these dogs and birds from pain and suffering and hold those involved responsible.”
The owner of the farm is currently being held in the Morgan County Jail on one count of purchasing an animal to be used in an animal fighting contest, according to reports from the Indianapolis Star. If convicted, he will face up to two-and-a-half years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“There’s no place in Indiana communities for animal fighting and the illegal gambling that goes with it, and we are very pleased that we were able to shut down this operation,” said IGC Superintendent Rob Townsend.
According to Rushin, the animals were brought to temporary shelters in undisclosed locations to be evaluated. They will also receive medical and behavioral care until a court determines where they will be placed.
In the United States, animal fighting has become a growing concern. Last year alone, the ASPCA assisted in the rescue of more than 4,500 animals from dog-fighting and cockfighting cases, Rushin told NBC.
We are so glad that these animals are now safe.
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