(Hartford, CT) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today released the following statement after the United States Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized 367 dogs in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia in what is believed to be the second-largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history.
According to the ASPCA, which assisted with the raids, 10 suspects were arrested and indicted on felony dog fighting charges. Federal and local officials also seized firearms and drugs, as well as more than $500,000 in cash from dog fighting gambling activities that took place over the course of the investigation. Remains of dead animals were also discovered on some properties where dogs were housed and allegedly fought. If convicted, defendants could face up to five years in prison, as well as fines and restitution.
“This dramatic raid and rescue show that the tragic scourge of animal fighting is sadly still alive and spreading across the country,” Sen. Blumenthal said. “It shows that even stronger measures are needed to stop this scourge—a blood sport supported by spectator dollars, linked to illicit gambling, drug dealing and other criminal activity. I hope it will build momentum for such measures as I have introduced and advocated, banning spectators and increasing penalties. Animal fighting encourages the worst in the human condition, and members from both sides of the aisle have been vocal in their commitment to putting an end to this inhumane activity.”
Sen. Blumenthal’s legislation, S.666, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, is cosponsored by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and has 13 additional cosponsors. In addition to outlawing spectators’ willful attendance at organized animal fights, S.666 would impose additional penalties on individuals who bring a minor to a fight. The bill is endorsed by both the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States.