Largest Dog Fighting Operation in U.S. History Raided by State & Federal Agencies with Assistance from ASPCA

ASPCA Dispatches Forensics, Vet Care and Behavior Evaluation Teams to Sites in Missouri, Illinois
July 8, 2009

NEW YORK —What is believed to be the largest dogfighting raid in U.S. history was conducted early Wednesday in an effort that included federal and state agencies, with the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) assisting.
 
At the request of the Humane Society of Missouri, the ASPCA, along with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, United States Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General, Federal Bureau of Investigation, The U.S. Marshals Service and the United States Attorney, is collaborating in the rescue, veterinary care, and forensics evidence collection of dogs associated with multiple suspected dogfighting operations. The ASPCA will also be assisting in behavior evaluations of the dogs.
 
The dogfighting operations are believed to have spanned eight states and included arrests in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Mississippi. Dogs are being safely transported to a secure facility under the direction of the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force, where they will be cared for until final disposition is determined by the United States District Court.
 
“The ASPCA is determined to protect its nation’s pets from dogfighting and other forms of brutality” said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres. “Animal cruelty cannot be tolerated, and we are proud to lend our support to federal and local agencies to ensure that these abusers are brought to justice.”
 
The ASPCA is collecting evidence for the prosecution of the criminal case, as well as lending the services of its special forensic cruelty investigation team, comprised of disaster animal rescuers, field service investigators, and Dr. Melinda Merck, the nation’s premier forensic veterinarian. More than a dozen responders from the ASPCA’s Disaster Response team are in the field, along with the ASPCA’s “Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit,” a critical tool in the collection and processing of evidence at crime scenes. The CSI unit brings both state-of-the-art forensics tools and expertise to crime scenes and is outfitted with medical equipment tailored for animal patients.  
 
“The ASPCA’s Mobile Animal CSI unit is an important component in the effort against animal cruelty,” said Laura Maloney, Senior Vice President of Anti-Cruelty Initiatives for the ASPCA. “This technology allows the ASPCA to strengthen cases against animal abusers and seek justice for their victims.”

Investigators from the HSMO provided the information that led to a lengthy investigation. Responders from HSUS, PetSmart Charities and United Animal Nations are also assisting in the immense operation.

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