Statement for Press


Animal Wellness Action Issues Statement About Fauquier County Sherriff’s Seizure of 23 birds in suspected cockfighting ring, animal abuse

Organization calls for stronger laws to deter animal fighting and burden on law enforcement

Washington — Today, Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy issued a statement on news that the Fauquier County Sherriff’s Office has seized 23 roosters and hens from a Summerduck home in connection with suspected cockfighting. 

The seizure followed earlier visits. In totality, investigators at this property found multiple birds conditioned for fighting with sharpened spurs, a pitbull and several roosters held in separate cages without food or water, and a dog was also found with a rope tied to his neck embedded into the animal’s flesh with a likely infected wound.

Jeffrey Long

Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action, issued the following statement:

“We are grateful to the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office for breaking up a cockfighting breeding operation in Summerduck.  This investigation and interdiction exposed animals being raised and trained and prepared for fights. Cockfighting is startlingly widespread, and it’s time to crack down on staged fighting and all the cruelty and crime built into the marrow of the enterprise.”

Both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have issued the Fighting Inhumane Gambling and High-Risk Trafficking (FIGHT) Act, and the authors hope to include the provision as an amendment to the Farm bill. Both pieces of legislation were driven by concerns for the barbarism of animal fighting, other criminal behavior comingled with it, and disease threats to poultry posed by transporting fighting roosters.

The FIGHT Act, amending Section 26 of the Animal Welfare Act, would enhance the enforcement opportunities by banning simulcasting and gambling of animal fighting ventures; halting the shipment of mature roosters (chickens only) shipped through the U.S. mail (it is already illegal to ship dogs through the mail); creating a citizen suit provision, after proper notice to federal authorities, to allow private right of action against illegal animal fighters; and enhancing forfeiture provisions to include real property for animal fighting crimes.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state and local levels that forbid cruelty to all animals. The group also works to enforce existing anti-cruelty and wildlife protection laws. Animal Wellness Action believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @AWAction_News

Center for a Humane Economy is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help animals by helping forge a more humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both. The Center believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @TheHumaneCenter