As they broke up an active cockfight this weekend in South Carolina, members of the HSUS Animal Rescue Team and local law enforcement came upon some horrific circumstances. Four birds had just been pulled from the pit, suffering grievous injuries inflicted by sharp knives strapped to their feet, and off to the side, there was a drag pit, where handlers continued to goad birds to fight, even after they had been removed from the main arena because they'd become injured and exhausted.
There was also a chained, emaciated female dog with 10 puppies, approximately three to four weeks old, inside a doghouse. Her ribs and backbone were sticking out, her gums pale pink–a sign of anemia. The dog and puppies were shivering from the cold temperatures, and with the female dog having barely any body fat and nursing puppies there was no telling how much longer she would have survived.
Law enforcement agents and our team members found plenty of cockfighting paraphernalia and rescued a total of 122 birds that night. Thirty-six of those birds had been transported to the pit for the fight, some across state lines, and the remaining 86 roosters and hens appeared to have been part of a cockfighting breeding operation. The raid also resulted in the arrest of 27 suspected cockfighters. Some parents brought children to the event, and law enforcement officials located firearms and drugs during their search of the vehicles and suspected cockfighters.