The Humane Society of the United States' Animal Rescue Team saves thousands of animals a year from neglect, puppy mills, animal fighting, and cruelty. But our work doesn't begin or end with removing animals from dire conditions. We also work with local law enforcement to help investigate allegations of cruelty and to help ensure that animal abusers are brought to justice.
We were happy to hear about meaningful criminal charges brought in two cases this week, after HSUS staff helped uncover a large animal fighting operation in Florida and rescue more than 200 animals in a hoarding case in Arizona.
In Florida, an anonymous phone call to our national animal fighting tip line (1-877-847-4787) set a chain of events into motion. Our staff contacted the Union and Bradford County Sheriff's Offices and worked with their joint task force and the Starke Police Department to investigate the tip. Local law enforcement obtained a warrant to search the property and asked The HSUS to bring our mobile animal crimes lab to assist with gathering evidence on the scene.
Last Friday, our team followed police cars and Alachua County SWAT trucks onto the property, where they saw a highly unusual scene with evidence of both dogfighting and cockfighting on the same property. There were dozens of scarred pit bulls, many tied to heavy logging chains, and about 100 game fowl. Take a look at our video from the scene. Investigators also found syringes and other paraphernalia associated with animal fighting.
On Tuesday, the suspected dogfighter was charged with 62 counts of felony animal fighting.
We've set up an emergency shelter to house the rescued dogs and birds, and each dog will be professionally evaluated as we work with rescue groups to find placement opportunities. Pit Bull Rescue Central and Hello Bully are also helping to care for these animals.
We heard more welcome news this week from Arizona, where our Animal Rescue Team removed more than 200 dogs, cats, and other animals from poor conditions two weeks ago. Many animals on the rural property were suffering from dehydration and untreated injuries.
Yesterday, the owners of these neglected animals were charged with seven felonies and 10 misdemeanors. HSUS staff are still on the ground caring for the Arizona animals while legal proceedings are underway. We hope to see these animals transferred to local shelters so they can be put up for adoption into permanent homes.
This post originally appeared on Pacelle's blog, A Humane Nation.