FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 26, 2013                                                                                 


Sumter DART Assists ASPCA in Multi-state Dog Fighting Operation


ASPCA provides care for nearly 100 dogs seized in federal dog fighting raid spanning Missouri, Kansas and Texas


Bushnell, Florida—At the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the United States Attorney’s Office, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), in conjunction with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office and Henry County Sheriff’s Office, assisted in a multi-state, federal dog fighting raid in Missouri, Kansas and Texas this past weekend. The ASPCA managed the removal and transport, with assistance from the Sumter Disaster Animal Response Team, of nearly 100 dogs involved in the investigation.


A search warrant was executed Saturday night in Kansas, after the FBI raided a location suspected of holding a contract dog fight in north Texas. The ASPCA and other agencies, including the Humane Society of North Texas (HSNT), assisted in the seizure of the dogs. Two additional warrants were served Sunday morning for the removal of the dogs in Missouri.


Matt Bershadker, senior vice president of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Group stated: “We are pleased to be able to assist federal, state and local agencies in such a massive investigation, and to safely bring the animals to our temporary shelter where they will receive much-needed care and treatment.”


The dogs were transferred by Sumter Disaster Animal Transport Team members to a temporary shelter in an undisclosed location where they will receive veterinary care from the ASPCA’s medical team, led by Dr. Sarah Kirk, medical director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. The HSNT will manage the transport of dogs seized from the Texas investigation. Agencies assisting the ASPCA with the sheltering operation include: Wayside Waifs (Kansas City, Mo.); International Fund for Animal Welfare (Yarmouth Port, Mass.); Nebraska Humane Society (Omaha, Ne.); Humane Society of
North Texas (Fort Worth, Texas); Dallas Animal Services (Dallas, Texas); and
Great Plains SPCA (Merriam, Kan.).


The ASPCA Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) team, assisting under the direction of the FBI, is collecting forensic evidence to be submitted for prosecution. The CSI team
brings state-of-the-art forensics tools and expertise to crime scenes in order to strengthen cases. The ASPCA will also collect DNAsamples from the dogs and submit them to Canine CODIS (Combined DNA Index System), the nation’s first criminal dog-fighting DNAdatabase, which will help law enforcement agencies identify relationships
between dogs and enable investigators to establish connections betweenbreeders, trainers and dog fighting operators.


The ASPCA was contacted for assistance by the FBI and the Missouri State Highway Patrol in the criminal investigation, evidence collection, rescueand sheltering efforts of the case. The ASPCA has assisted local and federalauthorities in previous dog fighting cases, including the largest dog fighting seizure in U.S. history in Missouri in 2009,and the following yearestablished its Blood Sports unit to investigate dog fighting and cockfightingacross the country.


Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District ofColumbia. Additional illegal activities are often connected with dog fighting,such as drug and weapons violations. Earlier this year, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act was reintroduced in the U.S. Congress, whichwould make it a federal offense to attend an organized animal fight and imposeadditional penalties for bringing a minor to a fight. For more information onthe ASPCA’s efforts to tackle animal fighting and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade,please click here.


Media contacts:

Sumter DART- Jenn Miler-Most, jenn@sumterdart.org, 727-481-1385              
Ronnie N. Graves ronnie@sumterdart.org 352-603-4249




ASPCA – Emily Schneider, emily.schneider@aspca.org, 646-784-5111

               Kelly Krause, kelly.krause@aspca.org, 646-784-2098


FederalBureau of Investigation – Joel Sealer, Joel.Sealer@ic.fbi.gov, 816-808-8973

United StatesAttorney’s Office - Jim Cross, james.cross2@usdoj.gov, 316-269-6552 (office) 316-644-4246 (cell)

MissouriState Highway Patrol – Sergeant Erik Eidson, Jon.Eidson@mshp.dps.mo.gov, 573-751-3452 (office)


About Sumter DART:


  • Assist in the rescue of animals by providing supplies, transportequipment, and volunteers. And staging said equipment for the project asrequested. Equipped to shelter up to 500 animals.
  • Aid other humane organizations in performing animal rescue andsheltering.
  • Provide assistance to animal controls and humane societies duringdisasters and animal abuse and/or hoarding cases when they request ourhelp.
  • Provide assistance in removing animals in advance of pendingdisaster in order to mitigate possible injury or death.
  • Help other humane organizations as well as county agencies when animals are in need.
  • Assist shelters with transfer and transport to decreaseeuthanasia and increase adoptions in communities where adoptions are greater.
  • Assist shelters with developing spay/neuter programs in their communities to decrease euthanasia.
  • Disaster planning for shelters and wildlife sanctuaries.
  • Memorandum of understanding with shelters for evacuation during disaster.


Small or large, your request will be met withexpert advice, individualized attention, and innovative solutions. Contact us and discover all we have to offer. Our staff is
looking forward to speaking with you.Sumter Disaster Animal Response Team Inc is a
501(c) (3) organization, so your donations are tax deductible. Our tax number
is 85-8013839116C-3. Donate Today!


About the ASPCA®

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (TheAmerican Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is thefirst animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’sleading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’smission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals
throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the
ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and
animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter,
and Pinterest.

March 2013 Press Release