L.A. County's new dogfighting tip line is unveiled
Earlier this week, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office and the Humane Society of the United States announced plans for a novel new approach to combating animal cruelty in L.A. County: A 24-hour tip line, manned by both English and Spanish speakers, for citizens to report incidents of dogfighting.
The tip line was officially unveiled at a press conference Tuesday at the office of L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley. Those with information about a dogfighting ring, an upcoming dogfight or an individual who is involved in dogfighting are urged to call 1-877-NO2FITE; those reporting information that leads to an arrest or conviction will be rewarded with up to $5,000. (Cooley noted that anyone reporting a dogfight in progress should call 911 rather than the tip line.)
"Our goal is to encourage citizens to help law enforcement root out a brutal crime that often goes unreported and occurs in the shadows," Cooley said during Tuesday's press conference. Also present Tuesday was the Humane Society's senior state director for California, Jennifer Fearing, who called Cooley "a true champion for animals."
Cooley and Fearing were joined at the press conference by two rescued pit bulls, Clancy and Honey. Clancy, a 13-year-old survivor of the horrors of dogfighting, was found wandering downtown L.A., severely emaciated and with an ear infection so severe that he couldn't lift his head. (Clancy now serves as an ambassador of sorts for Downtown Dog Rescue.)
Rescuers believe Honey, a 2 1/2-year-old female, may have been used as a bait dog in a dogfighting operation. Honey was found lying in a pool of her own blood, having apparently been slashed by a razor blade. She has since made a full recovery and is flourishing in a new adoptive home.
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photo: Junior, one of hundreds of pit bulls that were seized July 8 in a dozen states during the largest dogfighting raid in U.S. history, gets a little friendly petting from volunteer Tiffany McBee at the Humane Society of Missouri headquarters Oct. 14. Credit: Jeff Roberson / Associated Press