ASPCA Assists FBI, Rock Island Police Department to Seize 64 Dogs as Part of Multi-State Dog Fighting Investigation

Dogs now being transported to temporary shelter to receive urgent medical care
April 14, 2016

Rock Island, Ill.—At the request of the FBI and Rock Island Police Department, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) helped to remove 64 pit bulls from multiple properties suspected to be involved with dog fighting in Rock Island, Ill. and Davenport, Iowa on Thursday.

After search warrants were served Thursday morning by the FBI, responders discovered dogs tethered on heavy chains and training devices consistent with dog fighting, along with narcotics and a firearm. This seizure is the result of an investigation that began approximately one year ago.

The dogs are being transported to a temporary shelter in an undisclosed location, where they will receive medical attention and behavioral enrichment by ASPCA veterinarians, behaviorists and responders. The dogs will be cared for at the temporary shelter until custody is determined by the court. The ASPCA is working closely with law enforcement and prosecutors to ensure the best legal outcome for these animals.

“The level of brutality we continue to see in organized dog fighting rings is profoundly troubling,” said Tim Rickey, vice president of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “We’re relieved these animals have finally been removed from this cycle of violence. Many people will be surprised to learn that dog fighting is happening in their community. It’s an underground activity that goes mostly unnoticed by the public, but it happens all across the country.”

Earlier this year, the ASPCA collected nearly 50,000 comments from members of the public urging the U.S. Sentencing Commission to crack down on animal fighting by strengthening the guidelines used to sentence convicted dog fighters.