Press Release

Animal Advocates Applaud Latest Federal Charges for Dogfighting, Bust of Alabama Man for Dogfighting Syndicate

Congress also considering landmark legislation to allow citizens to supplement federal law enforcement actions against criminal syndicates involved in staged animal fighting.

Birmingham, AL — Animal Wellness Action today applauded officials for charging an Alabama man in connection to an illegal dogfighting ring he allegedly ran at three properties across the state. This is the latest in a series of dogfighting raids by the federal government from Indiana to Georgia to New Jersey to Maryland, whose perpetrator was a senior Department of Defense official.

The man, Carlton Lenard Adams, 51, was also charged for possessing an illegal high-power gun after previously being convicted of a felony.

U.S. Attorney Prim Escalona and Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division made the announcement in a joint press release the same day federal law enforcement agents arrested Adams.

According to the release, which cited court papers, Adams maintained a stock of 78 fighting dogs of unknown breed at three properties. Federal agents rescued those dogs in the course of the bust.

“Kudos to federal law enforcement for arresting a dogfighting kingpin operating multiple sites across Alabama for the gruesome practice of dogfighting,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy.

“The U.S. previously hit a major cockfighting operator in Alabama, and these arrests signal to all illegal animal fighters that they continue to risk their freedom and their assets if they persist in conducting their barbaric forms of entertainment.”

A story in USA Today reported that agents recovered tools and supplies “used in the training and keeping of dogs used for fighting” including the following:

  • Modified treadmills to hold dogs in place for conditioning
  • Injectable veterinary steroids, suture materials and syringes
  • A skin stapler
  • A break stick device used to break the bite hold of a dog “during specified intervals in a dog fight”
  • A homemade breeding stand used to immobilize female dogs who are “too aggressive to mate naturally”

In addition, the story said, the search reportedly uncovered two pistols and a semi-automatic shotgun with a “street sweeper” drum cartridge — what prosecutors call an illegal “destructive device.” The firearm is capable of firing more than 10 rounds at once.

John Murphy was arrested recently after dogs were seized last year from his home in Hanson, Mass. According to press accounts, prosecutors said several of the dogs had scars, wounds, sores, or other injuries. One bore “severe, deep scarring around the neck,” and two others had scars on their heads and legs. One of them had “worn teeth, and several masses on the left flank, right front leg, and undercarriage.”

Murphy appeared in U.S. District Court in Boston and pleaded not guilty.

“Dogfighting is not only one of the cruelest and most heartless forms of animal exploitation, but it is always bound up with other crimes, including narcotics trafficking and illegal gambling,” Pacelle said.

Animal Wellness Action is focused on ensuring passage of new federal legislation called the FIGHT Act that would strengthen penalties and enforcement tools against animal-fighting.

The federal FIGHT Act, H.R. 2742 and S. 1529, would allow for citizen suits against perpetrators, ban online gambling on animal fights, allow for criminal forfeiture of property used to commit animal fighting crimes, and forbid the use of the U.S. mail to ship adult roosters.

Co-led in the U.S. House by Reps. Don Bacon, R-Neb., and Andrea Salinas, D-Ore., and in the Senate by Senators Cory Booker, D-N.J., and John Kennedy, R-La., the FIGHT Act has endorsements from 500 organizations and agencies from the domains of animal welfare, law enforcement, agriculture, gaming, and conservation. No other animal welfare legislation has as much bipartisan support as H.R. 2742 and S. 1529.

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

Center for a Humane Economy is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help animals by helping forge a more humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both. The Center believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @TheHumaneCenter