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Thursday, September 6, 2018

Dog and cock-fighting operation busted by Pierce County Sheriff's office, 1,300 animals siezed


ELLSWORTH —At the request of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is assisting with evidence collection and the removal of more than 1,300 animals from a property believed to be associated with dogfighting and cockfighting in Gilman Township. 

The animals, including chickens and more than a dozen dogs allegedly bred for animal fighting, are being transported by the ASPCA to undisclosed emergency shelters to receive care and treatment. The ASPCA is also assisting with subject matter expertise and veterinary forensic exams.

A search warrant was executed Aug. 30 by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office where officials discovered the animals living in deplorable conditions throughout the property. Some dogs were found tied to heavy chains and appeared to exhibit scars and injuries associated with dogfighting, while roosters were found with physical alterations commonly associated with cockfighting. Dogfighting and cockfighting paraphernalia were also discovered on the property.

"This is the second large-scale animal cruelty case we have encountered in the past two years,” said Sheriff Nancy Hove with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office. “When we are made aware of any animal cruelty issues, we do the best we can to investigate and hold those responsible accountable for the suffering they’ve caused these animals."

“Animal fighting is an inhumane practice that is unfortunately common throughout the country,” said Tim Rickey, Vice President of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “The ASPCA is pleased to be in a position where we can provide resources and expertise to assist local authorities with their investigation.”

The animals are being transported to temporary shelters established by the ASPCA, where they will be cared for by veterinary and behavior experts until custody is determined by the court. The ASPCA’s Legal Advocacy department will work closely with law enforcement and prosecutors to ensure the best outcome for these animals.

In Wisconsin, engaging in animal fighting, which includes possession of dogs or roosters for the purpose of fighting, is a Class I felony for first offenders, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment of up to 3.5 years.  A second offense is a class H felony and is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment of up to 6 years.  For more information about animal fighting, visit aspca.org/animal-cruelty.

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