published Monday, January 27th, 2014

9 arrested in AL cockfighting probe

ANDALUSIA, Ala. — A cockfighting raid in Andalusia led to the discovery of dead roosters and the arrest of nine people.

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board said the raid Saturday resulted in six people being charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty. Three others were charged with misdemeanors. Court records don't indicate that any of the defendants have attorneys yet.

Law enforcement seized nine birds. Three were already dead, one was so badly injured that it had to be euthanized, and the other five were alive. The five birds are being held as evidence for the criminal cases, said Kaitlin Sanderson, spokeswoman for the Humane Society of the United States.

Investigators found cockfighting paraphernalia, including razor-sharp gaffs, which resembled curved ice picks, and injectable drugs, the ABC Board said.

"All of the rosters we found had been brought to fight to the death with knives tied to their legs," said Chris Schindler, manager of animal fighting investigations for the Humane Society of the United States,

At the urging of Schindler's group and others, the Legislature increased the penalties for animal abuse last year to provide a felony punishment of one to 10 years in prison for aggravated animal cruelty. Before then, it had been a misdemeanor.

The ABC Board said those charged with aggravated animal cruelty were Timothy Andrew Nevels, 24; Bobby Joe Stanton, 27; Brandon Lee Worley, age unavailable; Arnold Richard Treadway, 25; Eric Thomas Shaddix, 34; and Ryan Corey Copeland, 49.

Faye Simmons Jowers, 84, was charged with keeping a cock pit, while Levi Matthew Taylor, 24, and Rickie Dewayne Tillis, 35, were charged with second-degree possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sanderson said some children were at the event in Jowers' back yard.

The case began with complaints to the Covington County District Attorney's Office. That led to the involvement of local law enforcement agencies, the ABC Board's law enforcement division and the HSUS, the ABC Board said.

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