Just last week, BarkPost wrote a story about a large suspected dogfighting bust in Ohio wherein we indicated that these busts seem to be happening more frequently. Now, even more dogs have been rescued, this time from a suspected ring that spanned two states: Iowa and Illinois.
Beginning at 6 a.m. Thursday morning, 10 search warrants were executed in Davenport, Iowa and Rock Island, Illinois, resulting in the rescue of 64 dogs from multiple properties.
So far, two men, 41-year old Ryan Hickman and 34-year old Willie Jackson, have been arrested in connection with the suspected dogfighting ring, although both were arrested on charges unrelated to dogfighting.
As a further indication that dogfighting was occurring, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) stated that heavy chains and equipment consistent with dogfighting was found. Narcotics and a firearm were also found during the raids, as dogfighting rings are generally connected with other criminal activities.
As is common in investigations into dogfighting, this case has been worked on for quite some length of time – over a year. Investigation began with information that was collected by Rock Island Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Quad Cities Federal Gang Task Force, although it’s unclear what kind of information got this case started.
The 64 dogs who were rescued are now in the care of the ASPCA at an undisclosed location where they’re receiving proper medical care and behavior enrichment. The dogs will continue to receive this care until custody of the dogs is determined by a court.
Speaking to KWQC, Patti McRae, Executive Director of the Quad City Animal Welfare Center, stated that she believes this is the largest dogfighting bust in the area and that this barbaric act is happening more than the public is aware.
“I think it’s probably more prevalent than we know of because it is secret. Obviously it’s been going on for a while and it’s a large ring in this area.”
Patti also stated that the Quad City Animal Welfare Center would be willing and ready to help assist with these dogs should they be asked to.
“We would definitely have supplies, food, cages, whatever they might need in supplies.”
In an ASPCA press release, Tim Rickey, Vice President of the ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response Team, stated:
“We’re relieved these animals have finally been removed from this cycle of violence. Many people will be surprised to learn that dogfighting is happening in their community. It’s an underground activity that goes mostly unnoticed by the public, but it happens all across the country.”
To echo both Patti and Tim’s words, dogfighting is far more common and active than many would think and people would like to realize.
If you have a tip or a report to make on known or suspected dogfighting, please call the Humane Society of the United States’ nationwide hotline at 1-877-TIP-HSUS. Those who provide tips may receive monetary compensation and can also be part of the process of stopping one of the most heinous forms of animal cruelty.