The raid was the work of major animal welfare agencies, specifically, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and The Humane Society of the United States, who acted at the request of the United States Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In total. 367 dogs were rescued from dog-fighting operations spanning multiple states, including Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas; ten suspects were arrested.
Many of the dogs seized on Friday were said to be emaciated and living in deplorable conditions.
From one property alone, 114 dogs were discovered tethered to heavy chains, in 90 degree temperatures. The dogs appeared to be flea infested and there was no visible food or water available to them.
Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA, stated:
Today we ended the torture of hundreds of abused and neglected dogs,
Never again will these dogs be forced to fight, live in squalor, or be neglected and deprived of the bare necessities.
The ASPCA is extremely grateful to federal and local authorities who pursued this widespread investigation for so long, and we are happy to lend our assistance.”
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, added:
We are committing to eradicating dog fighting in every dark corner where it festers,
This series of raids reminds every dogfighter that they are not beyond the law and their day of reckoning will come.”
The individuals suspected of participating in these dog fighting operations are believed to have been betting between $5,000 and $10,000 per fight.
U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr. stated:
“The number of dogs seized and the amount of money involved this in case shows how extensive this underworld of dog fighting is. These dog fighters abuse, starve and kill their dogs for the supposed ‘fun’ of watching and gambling on a dog fight. Their behavior is deplorable, will not be tolerated, and will be punished to the full extent of the law.”
The large-scale raid was the culmination of a three-year investigation. The suspects who were arrested are facing felony dog fighting charges and could spend up to five years in prison, along with thousands in fines, if they are convicted.
The dogs seized in the raids have been moved to emergency shelters at several undisclosed locations; the dogs are receiving veterinary care and "behavior enrichment."
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