Animal welfare groups offer reward for info that leads to cockfighting arrests, convictions

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Two Oklahoma animal welfare groups are offering a monetary reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of individuals involved in cockfighting.

The Animal Wellness Foundation (AWF) and Animal Wellness Action (AWA) announced Saturday that they are offering a $2,500 reward for information that leads to the successful prosecution of violators of the federal law (7 U.S.C. § 2156) or the state law against animal fighting, according to a news release.

The announcement from the animal welfare groups comes a week after former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, co-chair of the National Law Enforcement Council, an arm of AWF and AWA, formally requested an investigation into illegal cockfighting activity in the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

“Cockfighting is typically bound together with other illegal activities, such as gambling and drug use,” Edmondson said. “These are not the values held by Oklahomans, and this lawlessness should not be allowed to continue. While I sincerely hope U.S. Attorney Kuester is reviewing the results of the Animal Wellness investigation, we are also asking members of the public to come forward with information that could help root out this activity in our state.”

Animal Wellness has labeled Oklahoma “the cockfighting capital of the United States,” according to the news release.

Anyone who has information about illegal cockfighting can send information to animalcrueltytips@animalwellnessaction.org or contact the appropriate U.S. attorneys, the state attorney general or county sheriffs or district attorneys, according to the news release. 

“An ‘animal fighting venture’ involves a fight conducted or to be conducted between at least two animals for purposes of sport, wagering, or entertainment,” the news release states.

The federal anti-animal fighting law states that it is a crime to do the following:

• 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 other 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.

“Federal agencies and officers have a duty to enforce our laws against the barbaric practices of cockfighting and dogfighting,” said Wayne Pacelle of the AWF. “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.”

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