Authorities raided an Andalusia, Ala. property, arrested six suspected cockfighters and seized nine birds. The raid was the result of a joint investigation among several Alabama law enforcement agencies and The Humane Society of the United States.
Investigators found cockfighting paraphernalia on the property, including razor-sharp gaffs, which resemble curved ice picks, and injectable drugs. Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board investigators, the Covington County District Attorney's office, the 22nd Judicial Drug Task Force and Covington County Sheriff's Office were on the scene to assist with the raid.
Six cockfight attendees were arrested and charged with aggravated animal cruelty. Three additional arrests were made and misdemeanor charges were filed.
Chris Schindler, manager of animal fighting investigations for The HSUS said, "All of the roosters we found had been brought to fight to the death with knives tied to their legs. We commend the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board for their quick action to shut down this cockfighting pit. This rescue further exemplifies the need to strengthen Alabama's cockfighting law and put an end to this barbaric practice."
The HSUS assisted law enforcement in examining and documenting the birds on the scene. Experts from The HSUS and investigators with ABC were on hand to help identify and document evidence and coordinate the rescue effort.
Cockfighting is illegal in every state, and all animal fighting that affects interstate commerce is punishable as a federal felony under the Animal Welfare Act.
Common cockfighting practices include breeding birds for viciousness, drugging them to heighten aggression, and fitting their legs with deadly weapons.
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.
Congress is considering legislation - the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act - to further strengthen the federal animal fighting law by making it a crime to be a spectator at a dogfight or cockfight, with additional penalties for bringing a child to the fight.