ASPCA Assists Indiana Gaming Commission to Remove More than 700 Birds in Cockfighting Case

Birds used for cockfights are being transported to temporary shelter established by the ASPCA
May 9, 2018

Avon, Ind.— At the request of the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC), the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is assisting with the removal of more than 700 birds from two properties alleged to be associated with cockfighting in Avon and Waveland, Indiana. The ASPCA is also assisting local authorities with evidence collection, medical assessments, and transportation of the birds to a temporary shelter in an undisclosed location.

“People do not want animal fighting in their communities.  Every time the IGC is able to shut down an operation like this, it raises awareness about animal fighting and we see an increase in reports from the public,” said Superintendent Rob Townsend of the Indiana Gaming Commission. “It was a tip from a concerned citizen that allowed us to begin this investigation.”

“The ASPCA is committed to ending cockfighting where birds are tortured to line the pockets of their abusers,” added Kathryn Destreza, Director of Investigations for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “We are grateful to local law enforcement and the Indiana Gaming Commission for their swift and decisive action, and proud to share our expertise and resources to assist in this case.”

During cockfights, birds often have knives and artificial gaffs – long, dagger-like attachments – connected to them to maximize injuries, commonly including punctured lungs and broken bones. In addition to animal cruelty, cockfighting is often connected to other crimes including gambling and drug possession.

In Indiana, conducting a cockfight, as well as the possession of birds for fighting, are Level 6 felonies, each punishable by six months to three years in a state prison, as well as a maximum fine of $10,000. The ASPCA has assisted the IGC with multiple cockfighting investigations, including a recent case in Brown County last month involving more than 130 birds. For more information on the ASPCA’s efforts to end cockfighting, visit