Wednesday, November 18, 2009

L.A. County prosecutors to open 24-hour dog-fighting tip line and reward program

By Andrew Blankstein

Los Angeles County prosecutors are teaming up with the Humane Society of the United States to announce what they say is a first-of-its-kind dog-fighting tip line and reward program. [Updated 2:17 p.m.: An earlier version of this post gave an incorrect name for the Humane Society.]

The 24-hour tip line, staffed by people who speak English and Spanish, will allow county residents to anonymously report dog-fighting incidents and collect up to $5,000 in reward money for information leading to an arrest or conviction.
The new tip-line number will be announced Tuesday at the office of L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley at the downtown Criminal Courts building.

Those who are convicted of illegal dog fighting, a felony under state law, can face a maximum prison sentence of three years, prosecutors said. Watching a fight or helping to prepare for such contests is a misdemeanor that carries a sentence of up to six months in county jail.Dog fighting is widespread in Los Angeles County, according to authorities. In the United States, the American Humane Society estimates that 40,000 people follow organized dog-fighting circuits and more than 250,000 dogs are made to suffer in dog-fighting pits each year.