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Heat on Oklahoma Cockfighters

posted June 7th, 2020 by
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Heat on Oklahoma Cockfighters

Edmondson, Animal Wellness

Turn Up the Heat on Oklahoma Cockfighters

Rewards program announced for information leading to prosecution

by Emily Lang

OKLAHOMA CITY, June 6, 2020 — The Animal Wellness Foundation (AWF) and Animal Wellness Action (AWA) today announced a $2,500 reward for information resulting in successful prosecution of any individual for violating the federal law (7 U.S.C. § 2156) or the state law against animal fighting  

The announcement follows last week’s action by former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson formally requesting an investigation of illegal cockfighting activity in the Eastern District of Oklahoma.  Based on the organization’s extensive investigations, identifying that several of the top global shippers of cockfighting birds operate from the eastern part of the state, Edmondson and other leaders at Animal Wellness labeled Oklahoma “the cockfighting capital of the United States.”

Edmondson is co-chair of the National Law Enforcement Council, an arm of AWF and AWA. In a letter sent last week to U.S. Attorney Brian Kuester Edmondson provided results of an AWA/AWF investigation that showed a documented trail of shipments by the U.S. mail of animals from Oklahoma bound for Guam, a U.S. territory in the far western Pacific Ocean that had been a haven for animal fighting.  There is evidence that the shippers also moved birds to other global destinations – all in violation of federal law.

“Cockfighting is typically bound together with other illegal activities, such as gambling and drug use,” Edmondson said. “These are not the values held by Oklahomans, and this lawlessness should not be allowed to continue. While I sincerely hope U.S. Attorney Kuester is reviewing the results of the Animal Wellness investigation, we are also asking members of the public to come forward with information that could help root out this activity in our state.”

Anyone with information about illegal cockfighting activities can send information to [email protected]. Residents can also contact the appropriate U.S. Attorneys, the state attorney general, or county sheriffs or district attorneys. 

Under the federal anti-animal fighting law, it is a crime to:

  • Knowingly sponsor or exhibit in an animal fighting venture;
  • Knowingly attend an animal fighting venture, or knowingly cause an individual who has not attained the age of 16 to attend an animal fighting venture;
  • Knowingly buy, sell, possess, train, transport, deliver, or receive any animal for purposes of having the animal participate in an animal fighting venture;
  • Knowingly use the mail service of the U.S. Postal Service, or any “written, wire, radio televisions or other form of communications in, or use a facility of, interstate commerce,” to advertise an animal for use in an animal fighting venture, or to advertise a knife, gaff, or other sharp instrument designed to be attached to the leg of a bird for us in an animal fighting venture, or to promote or in any other manner further an animal fighting venture except as performed outside the U.S.;
  • Knowingly sell, buy, transport, or deliver in interstate or foreign commerce “a knife, a gaff, or any other sharp instrument” designed or intended to be attached to the leg of a bird for us in an animal fighting venture.

Penalties for each violation of any one of these provisions allows for a maximum of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for perpetrators, except for an adult attending an animal fighting venture. Penalties for an adult attendee are 1 year in prison and a $5,000 fine.  The state law, which took effect in 2003 after voters approved an initiative, bans fighting and possession and allows for up to 10 years in prison for violators.

An “animal fighting venture “involves a fight conducted or to be conducted between at least two animals for purposes of sport, wagering, or entertainment.

Prohibitions on attending on selling, buying, possessing, training, transporting, delivering, or receiving an animal in an animal fighting venture; attending an animal fighting venture; or trafficking in knives or gaffs for use on a bird have long applied to all U.S. territories. On December 20, 2019, these prohibitions are effective in the U.S. territories: sponsoring or exhibiting an animal in an animal fighting venture or knowing using the mail service of the U.S. Postal Service, or advertising an animal for use in a fighting venture, to advertise a knife or gaff, or to promote an animal fighting venture.

“Federal agencies and officers have a duty to enforce our laws against the barbaric practices of cockfighting and dogfighting,” said Wayne Pacelle of the AWF. “But their good works depend on the cooperation and alertness of citizens. We ask people who know about illegal animal fighting activities to help us stop these forms of cruelty.”

Felony Cockfighting Activity

posted May 27th, 2020 by
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Heat on Oklahoma Cockfighters

Former AG Asks U.S. Attorney to Prosecute

 

OKLAHOMA CITY, May 26,  2020 – Former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson is asking  U.S. Attorney Brian J. Kuester to investigate allegations of ongoing trafficking of birds to Guam for cockfighting, for illegally possessing fighting animals, and perhaps engaging in other conduct at odds with state and federal law.  Mr. Kuester, based in Muskogee, has jurisdiction for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.  

The request follows an investigation by Animal Wellness Action and Animal Wellness Foundation that revealed that three of the top five shippers of birds to Guam, covering a three-year period, reside in eastern Oklahoma.  AWA and AWF allege, based on their investigation, that Oklahoma “may be the cockfighting capital of the United States.”  Attorney General Edmondson asked District Attorneys for Cherokee, Haskell, and LeFlore counties to investigate the allegations as well and to bring charges as appropriate.

Those individuals are John and Brenda Bottoms of Gunner Gamefowl Farm in Heavener; Bill McNatt of Cherokee Game Farm in Stigler; and Darrell Trammel of Moody Farm in Tahlequah. 

“The Eastern District is fraught with individuals who have been involved in the global trafficking and fighting of birds,” Edmondson said. “It is a felony under state and federal law to buy, sell, deliver or own any bird with the intent that such bird shall engage in a cockfight, and that’s clearly what we’re seeing. The three individuals identified in this investigation brazenly defy law enforcement officers. This deserves the attention of law enforcement officers and prosecutors, and that’s what we’re asking for.”

Through public records requests to the Guam Department of Agriculture, AWF and AWA obtained nearly 2,500 pages of avian shipping records dated November 2016 to September 2019. These records detail approximately 750 shipments of birds from more than a dozen states to Guam. 

In these documents, shippers described over 8,800 of the shipped animals as “brood fowl.”  There is no legitimate explanation for this volume of shipments. First, Guam does not have a significant animal agriculture industry or a show-bird circuit. Second, the ratio of roosters to hens in these shipments of brood fowl was nearly 10 to 1 with some shipments being over 100 to 1. It’s difficult to think of any animal agriculture industry that requires more males than females. Since it’s the males that cockfighters conscript for fights, and with standard breeding protocols calling for those ratios to be inverted, any reasonable person would conclude that the purpose of these shipments was primarily for promoting the cockfighting industry, which is robust on the island.

“Oklahomans voted in overwhelming numbers to ban cockfighting 18 years ago,” said Louisa McCune, executive director of the Kirkpatrick Foundation, which supports a number of animal welfare causes. “The record of these illegal shipments indicates that we have a sizable cockfighting industry operating in Oklahoma. It’s our hope that law enforcement takes very seriously any and all crimes involving the abuse of animals, including the breeding, selling, and shipping of roosters used for an unconscionable blood sport.” 

There have been a number of prosecutions of cockfighters in the state, including the most recent action in January 2020, when county authorities arrested two people after investigators stumbled across a cockfighting ring east of Harrah.

“Cockfighters are still at it in Oklahoma, and we hope our investigation prompts local, state, and federal law enforcement authorities to pull this illegal business up from its roots,” said Wayne Pacelle, founder of Animal Wellness Action. “The practice is cruel and barbaric, and long-distance movements of the birds threaten to spread avian influenza and jeopardize animal and human health.” 

AWA and AWF announced a rewards program to run for an indefinite time that provides a $2,500 reward for any individual who provides critical information that results in a successful federal prosecution of an individual or set of individuals who violate the federal law against animal fighting. 

Edmondson is co-chair of the National Law Enforcement Council for AWA and AWF.  During his time as Oklahoma Attorney General, he defended the law from constitutional challenges brought by cockfighters.  In Edmondson v. Pearce, the Oklahoma Supreme Court determined in a unanimous ruling that the anti-cockfighting law represents a proper exercise of authority and that cockfighting and related activities are forbidden in the state.  Numerous federal courts have upheld the federal anti-animal fighting law as constitutional.

-Emily Lang

Staging Your Home

posted April 21st, 2020 by
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Heat on Oklahoma Cockfighters

Staging Your Home

by Nick Burton

Staging Your HomeWhen you put your house on the market, one of the first things you should do is research everything you can about buying a home in your area. This will help you to better understand sale prices and compare your place with others. For example, homes in Tulsa have been selling for an average of $171,000 over the last month. If you want to get the maximum sale price, you have to focus on home staging. This not only extends to how you decorate but also how you handle staging when you’re a pet owner. Below are some ideas to help you properly stage your home so potential buyers can’t tell you have a pet.

Control odors. You may already know your house has a scent because of your four-legged friend, but if it’s hard to tell, ask someone to come over and assess the situation. Prospective home buyers who don’t have furry friends will immediately be able to pick up on any pet-related odors as soon as they enter a place. You can mask some unpleasant smells by sprinkling baking soda on problem areas where there might have been an accident.

Get rid of any stains. Like smells, stains are a major turn off to prospective buyers. If there are specific areas of carpet in your home that continue to hold stains, it’s time to get those professionally cleaned. According to HouseLogic.com, this can cost anywhere from $25 to $50 per room. If for some reason, you’re unable to remove those stains, consider installing new carpet. Again, the goal is to make this a home that they can see themselves living in, not a place where you live with all your pets.

Keep your place clean. Pet dander, especially for prospective buyers who have allergies, is not something you want to have lingering around your home. To avoid this, tidy up your place regularly so that pet hair doesn’t collect on the floor or furniture.

Choose a new location of your home for your pets. If you’re used to letting your pets hang out wherever they please, this can lead to cleaning on top of more cleaning. Save yourself the time and energy and select a space in your home to serve as your pets’ living quarters. Sure, it’s okay to let them out when you’re around, but keep in mind, any space they access should always be kept in tip-top condition.

Take your pets elsewhere during viewings. One of the most obvious signs that you have a pet, or that a pet lives in your home, is to actually leave your pet there during a showing. According to the experts, this can be a deal-breaker for some. Unfortunately, not everyone likes pets. Have a plan in place to get your pup out of the house for last-minute showings. Doing so will keep you prepared and put you in a better position to sell your home.

Staging your home is all about converting interested parties into buyers and assisting them in visualizing what their life could be like at your place. As the old saying goes, first impressions are everything. Unfortunately, if buyers can tell you have a pet, you’re more than likely not going to get the price you want for your home, and possibly, not even an offer. Remember, you may love your pets, but everyone else may not feel the same way. Stick with the basics: Keep things clean and pet-free.
Photo credit: Pixabay.com

Common Bonds sets Tulsa news conference

posted January 20th, 2020 by
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Common Bonds

Common Bonds to announce 90 percent shelter save rate initiative

Common Bonds, a group of organizations and individuals concerned about the wellbeing of Oklahoma’s companion animals, has scheduled a Jan. 21 news conference to discuss its plans to increase Oklahoma’s shelter save rate for dogs and cats to 90 percent.

The news conference is set for 3 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 21 at the Williams Lodge at Gathering Place, 2650 S John Williams Way E.

Common Bonds has established three distinct priorities in its effort to reach the 90 percent save rate. Those priorities include promoting methods to reduce the number of animals entering shelters, increasing community engagement and improving data collection. Speakers will discuss these priorities and the steps that will be taken to implement the group’s plan.

 

Speakers include:

Kelly Burley – director, Common Bonds

Jamee Suarez – founder and president, Oklahoma Alliance for Animals

Brent Toellner – senior director of national programs, Best Friends Animal Society

 

Dogs and cats available for adoption will also be in attendance.

 

For more information on Common Bonds, visit commonbondsok.com.

TulsaPets Mag Jan / Feb 2020

posted January 12th, 2020 by
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Jan / Feb 2020

TulsaPets Magazine  Jan / Feb 2020

Publisher – Marilyn King  [email protected]

Creative Director – Sally Roper

Advertising Sales – Marilyn King, Steve Kirkpatrick, Rosalie Childs

Web Manager – Steve Kirkpatrick  [email protected]

Editor – Anna Holton-Dean

Contributing Writers – Marilyn King, Lauren Cavagnolo, Kim Doner, Nancy Gallimore, Anna Holton-Dean, Shauna Struby

PO Box 14128 Tulsa, OK 74159-1128

(918) 520-0611

(918) 346-6044 Fax

©2020 All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written consent of the publisher.

TulsaPets Magazine provides Tulsa area pet owners with a one-stop resource for local products, services, events and information.  Now TulsaPets Magazine Online is able to provide you with all of that and much more, interactive and up-to-the-minute!

Adopt at Tulsa Animal Welfare

posted January 8th, 2020 by
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008 FoshayPhotoJan 13 2015b

TulsaPets Magazine toured the Tulsa Animal Welfare shelter and took these pictures of adorable animals available for adoption. If you are thinking about a new family member, please consider saving the life of a homeless animal!

Visit the shelter and take home a new best friend!

Adopt at Tulsa Animal Welfare

LEARN MORE ABOUT TULSA ANIMAL WELFARE SHELTER

Make a difference – adopt a shelter animal!

All of these pictures were taken March 25th by Bob Foshay

NEW HOURS! 
Monday- Saturday: Noon – 6 p.m.
Sunday: Noon – 4 p.m.

Dogs and cat adoptions are $75.00

Tulsa Animal Welfare Shelter   3031 N. Erie   Tulsa 74115   (918) 596-8000

This Week’s Wednesday’s Children available from the City of Tulsa Animal Welfare Shelter.   There are some beautiful dogs and cats for adoption so please go rescue one today! Rescued pets make the best companions!!!  A big “THANKS” is owed to Bob Foshay for doing what he does every week!

* Pictured Animals may no longer be available

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