Shelby County man charged in cockfighting case - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Shelby County man charged in cockfighting case

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Investigators believe these birds were destined for the fighting pit. Investigators believe these birds were destined for the fighting pit.
They believe a Shelby County man was raising the birds on his mother's property. They believe a Shelby County man was raising the birds on his mother's property.
Wally Clemons was profiled in Pit Games. Wally Clemons was profiled in Pit Games.
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August 10th update:

Wally Clemons has been charged in a cockfighting investigation by the Indiana Gaming Commission and the Humane Society of United States.

The Shelby County prosecutor charged him with three counts, including possession of animals for purpose of animal fighting contests (class D felony), possession of animal fighting paraphernalia (class B misdemeanor) and promoting animal fighting contests (class D felony).

An initial hearing has been scheduled. Clemons was not arrested. He could face anywhere from six months to three years in prison, and a fine up to $10,000.

It's the first time someone has been charged for cockfighting in Shelby County.

The Humane Society says many of the hens and roosters confiscated in the operation found new homes.

Original story:

Shelby County - Indiana is cracking down on cockfighting, and an undercover investigation has resulted in hundreds of birds being confiscated from a Shelby County farm.

The Indiana Gaming Commission and the Humane Society of the United States were involved in the Shelby County investigation. They were tipped off after seeing an article in Pit Games, a Filipino magazine of the National Federation of Gamefowl Breeders.

Cockfighting is illegal in the United States, and it is a felony in 39 states, according to the Humane Society.

Investigators believe Wally Clemons was raising about 200 birds and roosters to sell for fighting. The article indicated he planned to sell the birds to buyers in the Philippines and Mexico. Selling or intending to sell the birds for the purposes of fighting is a Class B felony.

John Goodwin with the Humane Society of the United States participated in the investigation.

"This individual actually talked (in the article) about selling these birds overseas, talked about their fighting ability, their fighting prowess, and gave us reason to begin an investigation," said Goodwin. "He even expressed an interest in moving to the Philippines where the activity is legal."

With one of the rescued birds in his arms, Goodwin explained how the birds were mutilated to prepare them for the fighting pit.

"This is a hen, but if it were a rooster, there would be a natural spur on the back of the leg, and they actually tie on a knife or an ice pick-like instrument called a gaff, and they have them fight to the death so that they can gamble on which one will win and which one will die," Goodwin said.

He said the birds found inside Clemons' operation were being housed in a manner consistent with other cockfighting operations.

"They're tethered to a plastic barrel so they can't get to one another. Many have had their combs cut off which is something they do to prepare birds for a fight. Their spurs sawed off, again something they do to prepare for a fight. A lot of mutilations for those purposes."

Aside from the birds, they confiscated cockfighting paraphernalia.

Investigators say Clemons moved to Indiana from Pennsylvania a few years ago. He lives with his elderly mother, who owns property in Shelby County.

Clemons' neighbor, Dave Games, said he was glad to see an investigation underway. "It's wrong, any time you deliberately kill an animal, especially putting them in to fight each other. I was always told they were show chickens and that he traveled around and showed them. But I never saw him go anywhere with his chickens. I just saw people come in and pick up chickens."

While the birds will go to rescue groups, all evidence collected will go to the Shelby County Prosecutor who will make a decision on charges after reviewing the investigation.

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