SPENCER, Ind.—An Owen County man was arrested following a two-month investigation into animal fighting allegations.
Jeffrey Russell Pierce, 26, was charged with possession of fighting animals, promoting an animal fighting contest and possession of animal fighting paraphernalia.
Wednesday, officials with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Indiana Gaming Commission assisted in the removal of 60 roosters from Pierce’s property in Spencer, Ind. Other animals, including dogs and other farm animals, were also sized.
“Cockfighting is a brutal blood sport where the unwilling participants—the roosters—are forced to fight, often to the death for the entertainment and financial gain of their owners,” said Terry Mills, director of Blood Sports for the ASPCA Field Investigations & Response team. “The ASPCA is proud to lend our expertise in animal fighting and forensic evidence collection to local authorities to help put an end to this disturbing activity and secure justice for the animal victims.”
ASPCA said responders found rooster remains on the property. Many of the seized roosters were reported to be starving and suffering from other conditions that required medical attention. Officials said the roosters were housed in outdoor pens and had no access to water.
The roosters were allegedly being raised and sold for the purpose of cockfighting. In Indiana, cockfighting, as well as the possession of birds for fighting, are class D felonies and could result in three years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
“The Indiana Gaming Commission, Gaming Control Division investigates animal fighting because it is a violation of Indiana law and people illegally gamble on the outcome of the fights,” added Larry Rollins, director of the Gaming Control Division. “Animal fighting is not a victimless crime. Other crimes are often uncovered during these types of investigations such as illegal drugs, weapons, stolen property, domestic violence and other forms of animal abuse. With the evidence gathered today additional animal fighting investigations may follow.”