MORGAN CO. — Nearly 600 animals, including ten dogs and more than 550 birds, are being rescued at the request of the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) from two properties in Morgan and Owen counties connected in alleged animal fighting.
According to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, search warrants were executed on Thursday morning at both locations. At both locations, officials discovered dogs tied to heavy chains and housed in a way that was consistent with dog fighting, roosters with physical alterations commonly associated with cockfighting and animal fighting paraphernalia.
The ASPCA is assisting local authorities with evidence collection, medical assessments, and veterinary forensic exams.
The animals are set to be transported to temporary shelters at undisclosed locations, according to the ASPCA. At these shelters, the animals will be cared for by veterinary and behavior experts.
The following animal welfare organizations provided ASPCA volunteers to assist with this case:
Animal Care Centers of NYC; Animal Care Services - City of Indianapolis; Charleston Animal Society; Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region; Humane Society of Southwest Missouri; Oregon Humane Society; Quincy Humane Society; San Diego Humane Society.
Animal fighting in Indiana and the possession of animals for fighting are level 6 felonies, each punishable by six months in county jail to two and a half years in state prison, and a potential maximum fine of $10,000.
“There’s no place in Indiana communities for animal fighting and the illegal gambling that goes with it, and we are very pleased that we were able to shut down this operation,” Superintendent Rob Townsend, of IGC, said. “This investigation started with a tip from a concerned citizen to Crime Stoppers, and by raising more awareness about this type of activity we see an increase in reports from the public that better allow us to tackle animal cruelty in our communities.”