Lawmakers urged to toughen dogfighting and cockfighting laws in Ky.

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, June 26, 2024

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With a nationally known dogfighter just arrested in the state, Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy are calling on state and federal lawmakers from Kentucky to do more to crack down on the scourges of dogfighting and cockfighting in the Bluegrass State.

“Not a single elected member of Congress from Kentucky has cosponsored the Fighting Inhumane Gambling and High-Risk Trafficking (FIGHT) Act, and a bill to strengthen the state’s anemic animal fighting law did not even get a hearing in Frankfort this year,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the groups. “Kentucky must do better, given its national reputation as a haven for dogfighting and cockfighting.”

Pacelle and others in his organization—including Pamela Rogers, the groups’ Kentucky state director—reacted to news that the Louisville Metropolitan Police (LMPD) recently made a significant arrest in Louisville’s South End based on an anonymous tip. Officers went to a home on Lillian Avenue, a short distance from Churchill Downs, and seized four dogs.

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According to a Facebook post by LMPD, the dogs were “living in feces-infested kennels or trapped in mud, leg high. Several of the pups have heartworms.” The Animal Cruelty Enforcement Unit of the department recovered “supplements and medications, weighted collars, scales, carpet mills, dog fighting paperwork, spring poles and other evidence indicative of dog fighting,” the post said.

Officers arrested 47-year-old Kareem Garner, who police said has been operating a dog fighting ring for a long time. Police believe his stature in the dog fighting world is considered “prolific” and that he is apparently well known in the region for dog fighting. He was charged with four counts of dog fighting (each a felony) and four counts of 2nd Degree Cruelty to Animals (misdemeanors).

To help combat dogfighting and cockfighting, Animal Wellness Action has launched a new reward program that offers cash compensation not only for information that leads to arrests and convictions, but also for tips on the location of planned or occurring cockfights in the state. The organization will provide $2,500 to any individual who provides tips to us or law enforcement that results in arrests in Kentucky for illegal cockfighting under state or federal law. Amounts for other information will vary based on the credibility and timeliness of the tips.

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