ASPCA Assists Indiana Gaming Commission with Removal of Nearly 100 Birds in Cockfighting Raid

February 17, 2017

Medaryville, Ind.—At the request of the Indiana Gaming Commission, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is assisting with the removal of nearly 100 birds from a property associated with cockfighting in Pulaski County, Ind. The ASPCA is also assisting local authorities with evidence collection, medical assessments, and transportation of the birds to a temporary shelter established by Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control in Fort Wayne, which is approximately 97 miles east of Medaryville.

Upon arriving at the properties on Thursday, investigators found roosters living in makeshift wire cages, many without access to proper food or water. Deceased bird were also discovered on the property, as well as cockfighting paraphernalia, including gaffs used to maximize injury during fights and supplements to enhance their performance.

“Taking action to stop animal fighting and the illegal gambling associated with it are top priorities of the Indiana Gaming Commission,” said Rob Townsend, Superintendent of Law Enforcement for the Indiana Gaming Commission. “The IGC appreciates the expertise and professionalism ASPCA provides, and values the relationship the agencies have developed by working together on these types of cases.  We also appreciate tips from the public that lead to busts like this and encourage anyone who has information about animal abuse to let us know.”  

“This investigation illustrates the prevalence and brutality of cockfighting in America,” said Kathryn Destreza, Investigations director for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “The ASPCA has increased efforts to tackle organized animal fighting, and encourages the public to alert authorities when they suspect animal fighting activities in their communities. We commend the Indiana Gaming Commission for their commitment and dedication in tackling this barbaric form of animal cruelty and holding the abusers accountable.”

During cock fights, birds commonly suffer from injuries including punctured lungs, broken bones and pierced eyes. These injuries are often the result of knives and artificial gaffs—long, dagger-like attachments—that are attached to the birds to maximize injury. Often, steroids or other drugs are administered to the birds to make them more aggressive.

In Indiana, conducting a cockfight, as well as the possession of birds for fighting, are Class I felonies, each punishable by up to three years and six months in a state prison, as well as a maximum fine of $10,000. Being a spectator at a cockfight, though, only carries misdemeanor penalties. For more information on cockfighting, visit