What Investigators and Prosecutors Need to Know about Building Cases Against Cock Fighting Perpetrators

What Investigators and Prosecutors Need to Know about Building Cases Against Cock Fighting Perpetrators
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Resources
Recorded on: 2018-11-28
Unit 1 Slide Deck: Building Cases Against Cock Fighting Perpetrators
Unit 2 Recording: Building Cases Against Cock Fighting Perpetrators
Unit 3 Workbook: Building Cases Against Cock Fighting Perpetrators

The Justice Clearinghouse have covered a couple of times the subject of animal cruelty and its link to other cases. The courses have tackled different aspects of animal cruelty, its risks and forms. One subset of animal cruelty that hasn’t been given as much focus before is cockfighting. It is this type of animal abuse that will be the highlight of this webinar.

To talk about this topic is Michelle Welch from the Virginia Attorney General’s Office where she is a Senior Assistant Attorney General and is the Director of the Animal Law Unit. She is the dedicated special prosecutor for animal cruelty and animal fighting cases in Virginia. Her expertise in the field enabled her to become a key resource giving advice and training to law enforcement stakeholders on animal cruelty in the local, national and international scene.

Michelle will unpack the details of one of her biggest cases to provide guidance on how to best handle an animal cruelty case involving a cockfighting operation. Details covered on this webinar include:

  • Video showing from undercover footages Michelle’s team were able to obtain from the Big Blue Sportsman Club that features the details seen inside the structure.
  • The characters that were involved in the case, from the people that composed Michelle’s task force and the people that were charged for prosecution.
  • The roles that the members of the team played and the importance of each’s contribution.
  • The factors that the team had to consider as it is a joint operation to decide on jurisdiction, tasks, and roles.
  • The resources that were tapped during the investigation that establishes the advantages of having multiple stakeholders.
  • The nitty-gritty of a cockfighting operation that illustrates:

    • The related crimes that transpire within the compound including high stakes gambling and child endangerment.
    • The harsh conditions that the birds are subjected into at the pits.
    • The amount of money being circulated within the operation.
    • The elements that must be taken into account to build a strong animal cruelty case.
    • The environment where game fowls are raised and trained to fight.
    • A brief backgrounder on Big Blue’s operations and the people behind it.
    • The indicators to watch out for to distinguish a cockfighting operation.
  • During the Q&A, Michelle explained points that the audience inquired on including:

    • The state veterinarian’s power and limitations.
    • The likelihood of recidivism on cockfighting operations.
    • Assembling a task force to handle and specialize in animal fighting cases.
    • How strong of an indicator of cockfighting dubbing in roosters can be.
    • Building a strong animal cruelty charge through evidence and expert witnesses.
Additional Resources
9 days ago
After the Webinar: Building Cases against Cock Fighters. Q&A with Michelle Welch
Webinar presenter Michelle Welch answered a number of your questions after his presentation   […]
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