PSPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement team, along with the Philadelphia Police department, make 21 arrests; suspects face felony charges of animal fighting
Philadelphia, PA (April 27, 2019) – The Pennsylvania SPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Team broke up a cockfight in progress on the 2100 block of East Ann Street in North Philadelphia in the early hours of Saturday, April 27.
The PSPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement team was called in by the Philadelphia Police Department early Saturday morning to assist in breaking up of a suspected illegal cockfighting operation in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia.
PSPCA Officers, along with the Philadelphia Police, broke up the fight, rescued over 100 birds, both living and deceased, and arrested 21 suspects. Paraphernalia consistent with cockfighting was also recovered at the scene.
All of the birds seized, which included fighting roosters and hens, were transported to the PSPCA’s Erie Avenue Headquarters where they will be evaluated by the PSPCA’s veterinary team. The birds will remain in the protective custody of the Pennsylvania SPCA until they are signed over by the offenders or adjudicated by the courts.
In addition to felony charges for animal fighting, the PSPCA will also utilize the paraphernalia section of the statute which makes it illegal to possess any device, implement, object or drug used or intended to be used for animal fighting, training animals to fight or the furtherance of those illegal activities. A bill passed in 2015 makes the mere possession of these items a misdemeanor crime.
“Animal fighting is a brutal crime, one in which the victims, whether they be dogs or in this case birds, fight to the death,” said Nicole Wilson, Director of Humane Law Enforcement at the Pennsylvania SPCA. “Though even the possession of fighting paraphernalia carries a misdemeanor charge, these horrific practices continue to occur in Philadelphia and throughout the state. We hope that by shining a light on this case and bringing the offenders to justice, we can deter the commission of future crimes.”
Anyone with information about this case, or other cases involving animal cruelty, should call the Pennsylvania SPCA’s Cruelty Hotline at (866) 601-SPCA. Tips can be left anonymously.
About the Pennsylvania SPCA
Since 1867, the Pennsylvania SPCA, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization headquartered at 350 East Erie Avenue, Philadelphia, has been dedicated to preventing animal cruelty and rescuing animals from abuse and neglect. The Pennsylvania SPCA's lifesaving programs for animals include a low-cost veterinary clinic, low-cost spay and neuter services, pet adoption facilities, and the Pennsylvania SPCA Humane Law Enforcement Department. For more information about adopting, donating or volunteering, please call (215) 426.6300 or visit www.pspca.org.