At the request of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (Virginia ABC), the ASPCA is assisting with the forensic evidence collection, removal, transport and sheltering of more than 550 birds, many allegedly used for fighting, from three properties near Pound, Virginia.
The seizure was the result of a comprehensive investigation on the illegal manufacture, transportation and distribution of untaxed distilled spirits, illegal cockfighting, and cruelty to animals, according to the Virginia ABC, which set the investigation in motion.
“Cockfighting is a violent blood sport that results in a tragic outcome for these victimized birds,” said Tim Rickey, Vice President of the ASPCA’s Field Investigations & Response Team. “We’re grateful to the local authorities for pursuing this case and sending a message that cockfighting will not be tolerated in our country.”
A search warrant was executed over the weekend to remove the birds from the three properties, and the ASPCA established a temporary shelter at an undisclosed location, where the birds will be cared for and housed by veterinarians and skilled animal handlers. More than 80 ASPCA responders are working to support state, local and federal law enforcement agencies with the operation.
Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states. In Virginia, cockfighting, possession of a fighting bird, attending a cockfight, and possession of cockfighting paraphernalia may be punishable as felonies, with each charge carrying a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.