Wellness Tips

Nearly 100 cited after cockfights in Union County

The citations came after the sheriff’s office received a tip from a welfare group that works to sniff out animal fights.

UNION COUNTY, Tenn. — Nearly 100 people in Union County were cited after deputies broke up a cockfighting derby that happened Saturday.

According to the charity organization Animal Wellness Action, the Union County Sheriff’s Office received a tip about cockfighting in the area. Deputies raided a derby as it was happening Saturday afternoon and cited 98 people for crimes related to cockfighting. 

“We applaud Sheriff Breeding for breaking up this cockfight and sending a signal that the county finds this conduct reprehensible,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy. “It confirms what we’ve been saying all along: cockfighting is an epidemic in Tennessee, spreading cruelty, crime, and contagion throughout the Volunteer state.”

AWA said the tip came from another organization, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK), that works to sniff out animal fights and alert law enforcement.

“Every cockfighting operator or enthusiast should be looking over their shoulder at us,” said Steve Hindi, founder of SHARK. “We’ve got your number and we’ve got a steady stream of information to know exactly what your next moves are.” 

AWA said an investigation into cockfighting in 2020 uncovered “extensive involvement” from a large number of people in Tennessee, saying some were shipping cockfighting birds to Mexico, the Philippines and Guam. The AWA also alleged those people were involved in fights at illegal pits in Tennessee and Kentucky.

AWA said the 98 people who were cited will appear in court on March 2. 

“Animal Wellness Action urges District Attorney Gen. Jared Effler of Union County to prosecute the individuals involved to the fullest extent of the law.  Animal Wellness Action has offered its assistance to the Union County Sheriff and the District Attorney,” it said.

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