Nearly 600 pit bulls and roosters saved in Indiana animal fighting probe
After Crime Stoppers received an anonymous tip, authorities rescued nearly 600 pit bulls and roosters from two properties in Indiana, Fox59 reports. On Thursday morning, investigators raided the Morgan County home of Martin Anderson and rescued one pit bull. Then they searched his nearby farm in Owen County, recovering nine pit bulls and 550 roosters.
The animals were allegedly being trained for fighting, which has become a growing concern in the United States. "The dogs were found tied to heavy chains and housed in a manner consistent with dogfighting, while roosters were found with physical alterations commonly associated with cockfighting," stated the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in a press release.
The ASPCA assisted in recovering the abused animals and said they found animal-fighting paraphernalia at both properties. "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," the release said. The agency did not specify the roosters' "physical alterations," but added they cannot disclose details due to the ongoing investigation.
Martin Anderson has been charged with one count of purchasing an animal to be used in an animal fighting contest, and is currently being held in Morgan County jail. If convicted, he faces up to two-and-a-half years in prison and a a $10,000 fine.
The rescued animals were taken to temporary shelters to be evaluated and receive medical care, Jessica Rushin of the ASPCA told NBC News on Friday, per The Indianapolis Star. She added that the dogs will likely be placed into foster homes, and last year the ASPCA assisted in rescuing more than 4,500 animals from dogfighting and cockfighting cases.
"Animal fighting is one of the most heinous forms of animal cruelty, and sadly it is far more common in the United States than many people realize," Rushin said in the ASPCA press release. "To betray animals by forcing them to fight for their lives for so-called entertainment is despicable. We’re proud to work alongside the Indiana Gaming Commission to remove these dogs and birds from pain and suffering and hold those involved responsible."