End Cockfighting Press Release

Wilkes County Board of Commissioners, Including Chairman Tied to Dogfighting, Unanimously Endorses FIGHT Act to Combat Animal Fighting

Commissioner Stoney Greene, implicated in extensive dogfighting activities in his past, resigns as commission chairman and backs strengthening federal law against all forms of animal fighting

Wilkesboro, NC — Tonight the Board of Commissioners for Wilkes County unanimously approved a resolution to endorse the FIGHT Act, H.R. 2742/S. 1529, and to recommend that North Carolina’s two U.S. Senators and Fifth District Congresswoman cosponsor the bipartisan legislation.  Commissioners Casey Joe Johnson, Keith Ellmore, Greg Minton, Bill Sexton, and Stoney Greene voted in favor of the measure, after Chairman Stoney Greene resigned his leadership position on the commission.  Greene was the focus of withering criticism from Wilkes County citizens for his extensive involvement in dogfighting.  Ellmore and Minton led the effort pass the resolution.

On Monday night, the Board of Commissioners for Surrey County also unanimously favored a similar resolution endorsing the FIGHT Act.  Chair Van Tucker and commissioners Mark Marion, Larry Johnson, Bill Gains, and Eddie Harris backed the measure.

“Cockfighting is not only a barbaric form of cruelty to animals, but it is rampant in North Carolina, and it’s time to pull these practices up at the root,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action, and the architect of the FIGHT Act. “It was the right move for Commissioner Stoney Greene to resign his chairmanship and to back the resolution urging Congress to upgrade enforcement tools to wipe out animal fighting in North Carolina and throughout the nation.”

The resolution urges U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, U.S. Sen. Ted Budd and Rep. Virginia Foxx to work diligently for passage of the Fighting Inhumane Gambling and High-Risk Animal Trafficking (FIGHT) Act. The bill, led by U.S. Senators John Kennedy, R-La., and Cory Booker and U.S. Reps. Don Bacon, R-Neb., and Andrea Salinas, D-Oregon, has broad bipartisan support in both chambers.

The FIGHT Act would strengthen existing federal law against dogfighting and cockfighting by allowing a private right of action against dogfighters and cockfighting, banning on-line gambling on animal fights, allowing for criminal forfeiture of equipment and properties used in the commission of these crimes, and enhancing prohibitions on shipping fighting roosters through the U.S. mail.

Pacelle proposed the resolution in the wake of Animal Wellness Action opposing an election campaign by Greene for the Republican nomination for North Carolina House District 94.  

Animal Wellness Action’s investigation determined that Greene was involved in dogfighting and operated kennels that fed animals into the domain of animal fighting.  Animal Wellness Action does not know if Greene continues to engage in dogfighting, he was connected to the world of dogfighting long after his arrest for the practice in New Jersey in 2002.

The FIGHT Act has 500 endorsers, including The American Gaming Association, the National District Attorneys Association, Small and Rural Law Enforcement Executive Association, United Egg Producers, Rose Acre Farms, Vital Farms, state poultry associations (Indiana and Ohio), and state sheriffs’ associations (FloridaIndiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania).

Pacelle has led every successful effort in the 21st century to build a comprehensive federal statute against dogfighting and cockfighting (with amendments to the federal Animal Welfare Act in 2002, 2007, 2008, 2014, and 2018). He’s also led efforts to strengthen anti-animal fighting laws in more than 40 states. 

Background materials:

Fact sheet on H.R. 2742

Fact sheet on Animal Fighting & the U.S. Territories

Blog on federal courts affirming national ban on animal fighting

Research paper on cockfighting and avian influenza and other infectious diseases

Timeline and details on 5 prior winning bills/amendments to upgrade the National Animal Fighting law.

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