Saturday, June 10, 2017

ASPCA assists with removal of more than 200 birds in cockfighting raid

At the request of the Indiana Gaming Commission, the ASPCA is assisting with the removal of more than 200 birds from a property associated with cockfighting in Marion County.

The ASPCA is also assisting local authorities with evidence collection, medical assessments, and transportation of the birds to a temporary shelter established by the Indianapolis Animal Care Services in an undisclosed location.

Upon arriving at the property on Friday, investigators found birds with physical alterations common in fighting birds, such as the removal of their combs and wattles. Cockfighting paraphernalia, including gaffs used to maximize injury during fights and supplements to enhance their performance, were also discovered.

“We are grateful to the ASPCA and Marion County Prosecutor’s Office for their support on this case,” said Superintendent Rob Townsend of the Indiana Gaming Commission. “There’s no place in Indiana communities for animal cruelty and the illegal gambling that goes with it. We are very pleased that we were able to identify this operation and shut it down.”

“This investigation further demonstrates the cruel and inhumane practice of cockfighting,” said Kathryn Destreza, director of investigations for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “No animal should be forced to fight to their death. The ASPCA is proud to be on the front line of tackling organized animal fighting in America and commends the Indiana Gaming Commission for their commitment to bringing this brutal sport to an end.”

During cock fights, birds commonly suffer from injuries including punctured lungs, broken bones, and pierced eyes. These injuries are often the result of knives and artificial gaffs—long, dagger-like attachments—that are attached to the birds to maximize injury. Often, steroids or other drugs are administered to the birds to make them more aggressive.

Earlier this year, the ASPCA assisted the Indiana Gaming Commission with the removal of nearly 100 birds in a cockfighting raid in Pulaski County.

In Indiana, conducting a cockfight, as well as the possession of birds for fighting, are Level 6 felonies, each punishable by six months to three years in a state prison, as well as a maximum fine of $10,000. Being a spectator at a cockfight carries misdemeanor penalties.

For more information on cockfighting, visit

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