September 7, 2018

ASPCA Assists in Seizing More than 1,300 Animals in Wisconsin Cruelty Case

a chained up pitbull

At the request of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, the ASPCA is assisting with evidence collection and the removal of more than 1,300 animals from a property believed to be associated with dogfighting and cockfighting in Gilman Township, Wisconsin. The animals, including chickens and more than a dozen dogs allegedly bred for animal fighting, are being transported by the ASPCA to undisclosed emergency shelters to receive care and treatment. The ASPCA is also assisting with subject matter expertise and veterinary forensic exams. 

a responder with a puppy

A search warrant was executed August 30 by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office where officials discovered the animals living in deplorable conditions throughout the property. Some dogs were found tied to heavy chains and appeared to exhibit scars and injuries associated with dogfighting, while roosters were found with physical alterations commonly associated with cockfighting. Dogfighting and cockfighting paraphernalia were also discovered on the property.

pitbulls in a broken down dog house

"This is the second large-scale animal cruelty case we have encountered in the past two years,” said Sheriff Nancy Hove with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office. “When we are made aware of any animal cruelty issues, we do the best we can to investigate and hold those responsible accountable for the suffering they’ve caused these animals."

a chained up pitbull

“Animal fighting is an inhumane practice that is unfortunately common throughout the country,” said Tim Rickey, Vice President of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “The ASPCA is pleased to be in a position where we can provide resources and expertise to assist local authorities with their investigation.”

The animals are being transported to temporary shelters established by the ASPCA, where they will be cared for by veterinary and behavior experts until custody is determined by the court. The ASPCA’s Legal Advocacy department will work closely with law enforcement and prosecutors to ensure the best outcome for these animals.

a pitbull in a cage

In Wisconsin, engaging in animal fighting, which includes possession of dogs or roosters for the purpose of fighting, is a Class I felony for first offenders, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment of up to 3.5 years.  A second offense is a class H felony and is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment of up to 6 years.  Read more about animal fighting and the ASPCA’s work to end this form of abuse.