SOURCE: Last Chance for Animals

May 21, 2007 17:39 ET

Largest Cockfighting Bust and Arrest in Nation's History

76 Felony Arrests by Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies

VAN BUREN, AR -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 21, 2007 -- Saturday, May 19th at 1:30 pm, with information provided by Last Chance for Animals (LCA) Special Investigations Unit, 150 law enforcement agents from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies raided a crowded and popular cockfighting arena near Van Buren, Arkansas. The raid, which led to 76 felony arrests, is the nation's largest cockfighting bust in history. Bonds were placed from $10,000 to $25,000. The federal search warrant was issued for 10100 Shiloh Road. State indictments include gambling and racketeering; federal indictments are still pending.

Some of the people charged are Kenny and Sue Henderson and Kenny Donaldson, owners of the arena; and Hayden Hise, head referee and author of the book, "Modern Day Cockfighting Rules." LCA is prepared to take any or all remaining birds that were not euthanized, and place them in a sanctuary. Detailed information is awaiting federal charges.

LCA is working to put Arkansas out of the cockfighting business. With cockfighting laws becoming more stringent in each state, specifically neighboring Oklahoma, fighting is ever increasing in Arkansas, with large numbers of people crossing the border to fight where misdemeanor charges and small fines only apply. Cockfighting is a breeding ground for organized crime, i.e. drug dealing and gambling. LCA Special Investigations Unit has been working closely with authorities for many months. Arkansas is a pivotal state in the fight against cockfighting. The lawmakers must make cockfighting a felony.

Cockfighting is a cruel blood sport that involves the placing of two roosters in a pit to fight. Cockfighting roosters, harnessed with razors, are forced to fight to the death; the roosters that survive are inflicted with broken bones, punctured lungs, and gouged eyes. Currently, cockfighting is a felony in 33 states and is still legal in Louisiana.

LCA would like to thank the Arkansas State Police, the Crawford County Sheriffs department and the Crawford County District Attorney's office, as well as the Arkansas State Drug Task Force, the U.S. Marshall, U.S. Customs, The Office of Inspector General and the FBI.

Press conference details to be announced.

Last Chance for Animals (LCA), a national non-profit animal rights organization based in Los Angeles, has been active for almost 24 years. Founded and led by animal expert, author and actor, Chris DeRose, LCA fights for the rights of animals by conducting investigations that expose animal cruelty, launching public awareness campaigns, pushing animal friendly legislation and helping prosecute animal abusers. For more information, visit www.LCAnimal.org.

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