© The HSUS
The HSUS assists in a Dec. 10 raid in Calif.
Last week was a remarkable one for field action at The Humane Society of the United States—not unlike other weeks we’ve had, but a reminder to me about the depth, reach, expertise, influence, and capability of this organization. Because The HSUS makes such an impact, there’s a risk that we as animal advocates might be lulled into thinking that major achievements are just routine. But there’s nothing routine about any of the work we did last week—it was simply extraordinary, in that all cases involved long-term investigations, meticulous planning, coordination with law enforcement, scripted raids to stop or prevent animal abuse, MASH unit treatment of animals on site, transportation of animal victims, and, in some cases, the development of plans for long-term care or adoption.
Working hand-in-hand with law enforcement officials, we raided three major animal abuse enterprises in three different communities in North America—a reported dogfighting don in North Carolina, a massive suspected cockfighting breeding operation on the north coast of California, and a puppy mill in Quebec.
1. Dogfighting in North Carolina: A three-year investigation by the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office, Wilkes County Animal Control agency and The HSUS culminated in the Wednesday raid of “Wildside Kennels,” an alleged dogfighting operation in McGrady. A man believed to be the owner of the operation and two others were arrested. Each was charged with one count of felony dogfighting and baiting; additional charges are pending. Authorities found suspected dogfighting paraphernalia on the property and seized 127 dogs.
The apparent owner of the operation, Ed Faron, was previously convicted of dogfighting and is reportedly one of the 10 most influential figures in the underground dogfighting circuit. He is known as a breeder of pit bull bloodlines that have a strong following in the criminal underground of dogfighting nationwide. Faron co-authored a book on how to breed and raise dogs to be used for fighting that contains graphic accounts—supposedly fictional—of gruesome injuries inflicted or suffered by dogs used for fighting (The Complete Gamedog—A Guide to Breeding and Raising the American Pit Bull Terrier).
He’s the latest target in our efforts to take down the kingpins of organized dogfighting in America.
© The HSUS/Paul Turner
One of the dogs rescued in Quebec.
2. Puppy mill in Quebec: Humane Society International/Canada and the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals rescued approximately 100 dogs from appallingly inhumane conditions in a puppy mill north of Montreal. This is the third major puppy mill bust for the two organizations in less than three months in Quebec—the puppy mill capital of Canada.
The HSUS has raided six puppy mills during 2008, rescuing more than 2,000 dogs from lives of misery. HSI/Canada and the CSPCA joined forces with United Animal Nations in frigid conditions to move the ill-treated dogs to an emergency shelter in Montreal, where they will receive the care and medical attention they desperately need after a lifetime of neglect.
3. Cockfighting in Northern California: The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department, in cooperation with The HSUS, raided an alleged cockfighting operation in McKinleyville, Calif. Authorities found approximately 1,400 game cocks and 500 game fowl on the property and seized a representative sample of birds along with cockfighting paraphernalia.
Made possible thanks to a grant by the Holland M. Ware Charitable Foundation, The HSUS’s animal fighting reward program offers up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in animal fighting.
If our members provide us with the resources, we won’t relent in our efforts to locate and eliminate animal abuse in all of its many manifestations. The actions above provide just a glimpse of our work in a single week.