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$5,000 reward offered in South Carolina by animal wellness groups for info that leads to cockfighting arrests, convictions

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Columbia, SC — Animal Wellness Action (AWA) and the Animal Wellness Foundation (AWF) recently announced a $5,000 reward for information resulting in the successful prosecution of any individual for violating state or federal law (7 U.S.C. § 2156) against animal fighting. The announcement follows a raid last week in Spartanburg County where authorities arrested three men, and Georgia law enforcement apprehended eight individuals at a cockfight last month.

Prior to the recent Nevada and California incidents, AWA and AWF developed detailed investigations and dossiers on individuals in Alabama, Hawaii, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, and alleged their deep involvement in activities related to cockfighting, with several of them shipping cockfighting birds to Mexico, the Philippines, Guam, and other distant locations.  AWA and AWF presented the information to relevant law enforcement agencies and officials, including the U.S. Attorneys representing three jurisdictions in the state.

 “Federal and state law enforcement have a duty to enforce our laws against the barbaric practices of cockfighting and dogfighting,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action. “But their good works depend on the cooperation and alertness of citizens. We ask people who know about illegal animal fighting activities to help us stop these forms of cruelty.”

 “The blood-sport of cockfighting breeds a cesspool of illegal activities, such as gambling and drug use, and disease,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action.  “We will make the Palmetto State safer when we root out this egregious criminal activity, and we hope the good people of South Carolina will seek our $5,000 reward.”

Under the federal anti-animal fighting law, it is a crime to:

•Knowingly sponsor or exhibit in an animal fighting venture.

•Knowingly attend an animal fighting venture, or knowingly cause an individual who has not attained the age of 16 to attend an animal fighting venture.

•Knowingly buy, sell, possess, train, transport, deliver, or receive any animal for purposes of having the animal participate in an animal fighting venture.

•Knowingly use the mail service of the U.S. Postal Service, or any “written, wire, radio televisions or another form of communications in, or use a facility of, interstate commerce,” to advertise an animal for use in an animal fighting venture, or to advertise a knife, gaff, or other sharp instrument designed to be attached to the leg of a bird for us in an animal fighting venture, or to promote or in any other manner further an animal fighting venture except as performed outside the U.S.

•Knowingly sell, buy, transport, or deliver in interstate or foreign commerce “a knife, a gaff, or any other sharp instrument” designed or intended to be attached to the leg of a bird for us in an animal fighting venture.

 Penalties for each violation of any one of these provisions allow for a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for perpetrators, except for an adult attending an animal fighting venture. Penalties for an adult attendee are one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

An “animal fighting venture “involves a fight conducted or to be conducted between at least two animals for purposes of sport, wagering, or entertainment.

What to do:

Anyone with information about illegal cockfighting activities can send information to animalcrueltytips@animalwellnessaction.org. Residents can also contact the appropriate U.S. attorneys, the state attorney general, or county sheriffs or district attorneys.

Animal Wellness Action (Action) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife.

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