NASHVILLE , TENNESSEE , USA, July 9, 2020 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Animal Wellness Foundation (AWF) and Animal Wellness Action (AWA) today announced a $5,000 reward for information resulting in the successful prosecution of any individual for violating the federal law (7 U.S.C. § 2156) against animal fighting. The announcement follows the groups’ release of an extensive cockfighting investigation in the Volunteer State and formal request to the U.S. Attorneys for the Eastern and Middle districts to investigate trafficking of fighting animals from Tennessee to U.S. territories and to foreign countries.
AWA and AWF developed detailed dossiers on a nine individuals (five in the Eastern District and four in the Middle District) and alleged their deep involvement in activities related to cockfighting, with several of them shipping cockfighting birds to Mexico, the Philippines, Guam, and other distant locations.
“Cockfighting breeds a cesspool of other illegal activities, such as gambling and drug use,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action and a former resident of Tennessee. “We hope the U.S. Department of Justice will review the results of the Animal Wellness investigation, and we are asking members of the public to come forward with information that could help root out this activity in the Volunteer State.”
Under the federal anti-animal fighting law, it is a crime to:
• Knowingly sponsor or exhibit in an animal fighting venture.
• Knowingly attend an animal fighting venture, or knowingly cause an individual who has not attained the age of 16 to attend an animal fighting venture.
• Knowingly buy, sell, possess, train, transport, deliver, or receive any animal for purposes of having the animal participate in an animal fighting venture.
• Knowingly use the mail service of the U.S. Postal Service, or any “written, wire, radio televisions or other form of communications in, or use a facility of, interstate commerce,” to advertise an animal for use in an animal fighting venture, or to advertise a knife, gaff, or other sharp instrument designed to be attached to the leg of a bird for us in an animal fighting venture, or to promote or in any other manner further an animal fighting venture except as performed outside the U.S.
• Knowingly sell, buy, transport, or deliver in interstate or foreign commerce “a knife, a gaff, or any other sharp instrument” designed or intended to be attached to the leg of a bird for us in an animal fighting venture.
Penalties for each violation of any one of these provisions allows for a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for perpetrators, except for an adult attending an animal fighting venture. Penalties for an adult attendee are one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.
An “animal fighting venture “involves a fight conducted or to be conducted between at least two animals for purposes of sport, wagering, or entertainment.
Prohibitions on attending, on selling, buying, possessing, training, transporting, delivering, or receiving an animal in an animal fighting venture; attending an animal fighting venture; or trafficking in knives or gaffs for use on a bird have long applied to all U.S. territories. As of Dec. 20, 2019, it is also a federal crime to sponsor or exhibit an animal in an animal fighting venture.
“Federal agencies and officers have a duty to enforce our laws against the barbaric practices of cockfighting and dogfighting,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action. “But their good works depend on the cooperation and alertness of citizens. We ask people who know about illegal animal fighting activities to help us stop these forms of cruelty.”
Under Tennessee law, cockfighting is a Class A misdemeanor. Tennessee is one of eight states without felony-level penalties for a first offense related to cockfighting.
What to do:
Anyone with information about illegal cockfighting activities can send information to email@example.com. Residents can also contact the appropriate U.S. attorneys, the state attorney general, or county sheriffs or district attorneys.
Lonnie Harper, of Springfield, who appears in a video broadcast by the Philippines-based network BNTV admitting he ships fighting birds to foreign destinations.
Source: EIN Presswire