Humane Society sues Amazon over animal fighting magazines
By Caton Bredar
LOUISVILLE (WAVE) -- The dogfighting case against Michael Vick brings added attention to dog and animal fighting -- attention the Humane Society of the United States says is badly needed. As WAVE 3's Caton Bredar reports, in a weird twist the group is using technology to fight the time-tested sport.
As the Vick case plays out in the courts, another case centered around animal fighting is playing out in the legal system. And the defendant in the case may surprise you.
"I don't understand Amazon's reluctance to pull these, other than profits," says Pamela Rogers, Kentucky director for the Humane Society of the U.S.
They bill themselves as the largest online seller of books, magazines and DVD's in the world. But now amazon.com is facing a federal lawsuit accused of selling subscriptions to magazines that promote animal fighting.
"They are actually advertising items that are illegal for people to own and sell," says Rogers. "Those magazines advertise illegal contraband for sale, and we think that's a violation of federal .. And we want them to cease and desist."
The basis of the suit is that the magazines include advertisements for medications and stimulants -- things commonly used in various forms of animal fighting.
"Syringes, etc. And clotting agents and hormones and things to enhance the fight -- the animal's ability to fight," Rogers said. "It's used by both cockfighters and dog fighters, and in fact, dogfighters advertise in these magazines."
Rogers says that animal fighting is a whole underground culture -- one that's really hard to catch.
A felony in all but two states, dog fighting is a growing, national epidemic according to Rogers. Just last month, Louisville Metro Police broke up an operation on Camden Avenue.
Rogers -- a dog owner herself -- says the Humane Society monitors advertisements and underground magazines and has proof of dog fighting locally.
"I get called probably once or twice a week with a tip, for somewhere in the state for cockfighting or dogfighting...every week, every month, for that last ten years. But it's getting worse and worse now," says Rogers.
Rogers also said that the cruelty of the fights is as tough to take as the greed.
"They burn them alive, or a lot of times they beat them to death, or they hang them," according to Rogers. "They care more about profit than they do about these animals."
An attorney for the Humane Society says they tried to negotiate for two years before filing suit. He says the two magazines involved rank in the top 3% of all periodicals sold through amazon.com.
WAVE 3 contacted the company to request an interview. Amazon dot com did not respond.
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