Press Release

Animal Welfare Groups Renew Call on Kentucky State Police to Crack Down on Cockfighting, Offer New Reward Program

Cash-for-information program announced to gather more intelligence from citizens for state and federal law enforcement agencies to eradicate illegal cockfighting.

Louisville, KY — After a withering report from a Louisville TV station about law-enforcement nonchalance in the face of cockfighting, Animal Wellness Action and SHARK (Show Animals Respect and Kindness) are announcing a revamped rewards program for information about illegal animal fighting and reissuing calls for Kentucky State Police to work with citizens and with leading animal welfare groups to “shut down cockfighting arenas and trafficking of fighting animals in Kentucky.”

To help combat cockfighting as well as dogfighting, Animal Wellness Action has launched a new reward program that offers cash compensation not only for information that leads to arrests and convictions, but also for tips on the location of planned or occurring cockfights in the state. The organization will provide $2,500 to any individual who provides tips to us or law enforcement that results in arrests in Kentucky for illegal cockfighting under state or federal law. Amounts for other information will vary based on the credibility and timeliness of the tips.

Tipsters may contact

“We have given law enforcement a roadmap to dismantle cockfighting arenas throughout the state, and with this new rewards program, we’ll be able to feed law enforcement even more detailed information about animal fighting networks in Kentucky,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy. “There must be legal consequences for people who disobey the law and commit a tangle of crimes bound up with the illicit cockfighting.”

“The Kentucky State Police must enforce the law without fear or favor and shut down these cockfighting arenas,” Pacelle said.

Steve Hindi, president of SHARK, supplied the TV station with the same drone footage he had shared with KSP and has given law enforcement ample notice of planned fights — with no arrests or venue shutdowns occurring as a result.  SHARK has identified more than a dozen brick-and-mortar cockfighting arenas regularly operating in the state.

“Our network of informants has given us credible evidence of illegal cockfighting derbies almost every weekend during the season,” Hindi said. “We then document the authenticity of these tips with drones that record the fights. But in nine of 10 cases, there is no police response and the individuals get away with vicious cruelty and lawlessness.”

Pacelle, Hindi, and Pam Rogers, the Kentucky state director for Animal Wellness Action, held a meeting with Kentucky State Police Commissioner Col. Phillip Burnett Jr. last fall, expressing frustration that authorities failed to act after detailed and accurate information was provided about major cockfighting derbies in action.

Commissioner Burnett told the advocates he took their concerns seriously, but the advocates remain disappointed. SHARK notified police on December 10 of a cockfight in Martin County, but no officers came. More recently, it does appear that KSP officers have been dispatched to fighting venues, though no arrests have been made.

Both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate are now considering the Fighting Inhumane Gambling and High-Risk Trafficking (FIGHT) Act, and the authors hope to include the provision as an amendment to the Farm bill. Both pieces of legislation were driven by concerns for the barbarism of animal fighting, other criminal behavior commingled with it, and disease threats to poultry posed by transporting fighting roosters.

The FIGHT Act, amending Section 26 of the Animal Welfare Act, would enhance the enforcement opportunities by banning simulcasting and gambling of animal fighting ventures; halting the shipment of mature roosters (chickens only) shipped through the U.S. mail (it is already illegal to ship dogs through the mail); creating a citizen suit provision, after proper notice to federal authorities, to allow private right of action against illegal animal fighters; and enhancing forfeiture provisions to include real property for animal fighting crimes.

Animal Wellness Action offers $2,500 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in cockfighting. It also pays for new information concerning the location of cockfighting venues and the dates and times of cockfights. Information may be emailed to

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state and local levels that forbid cruelty to all animals. The group also works to enforce existing anti-cruelty and wildlife protection laws. Animal Wellness Action believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @AWAction_News

SHARK is a non-profit organization with supporters around the U.S. and beyond. SHARK receives no government funding and completely relies on donations and grants to work on issues ranging in scope from local to worldwide. With a small core of volunteers, and a staff of five, SHARK battles tirelessly against rodeos, bullfighting, pigeon shoots, turkey shoots, canned hunts and more. President Steve Hindi has an open invitation to debate “the opposition.” Because of his domination of past debates with animal abusers, however, it has been years since the opposition has taken him on.