Despite the ban on dog-fighting and other so-called "blood sports" involving animals, the illegal practice still persists in D.C. Two District residents have been arrested in separate cases of animal fighting, after prompting by Washington Humane Society investigations.
In one case, the Humane Society was tipped off by neighbors that a rooster was living at a home in Northeast D.C. Officers discovered the spurs of the bird had been sharpened to points -- an indication of possible cock-fighting.
Mario Barillas, a 38-year-old undocumented immigrant from Guatemala who lived at the home, later pleaded guilty to attempted animal fighting and will serve five years in a federal detention center before being deported.
The other case involves allegations of dog-fighting. D.C. police were searching a home in Northeast for an illegal firearm. The officers found the weapon – along with several severely injured pit bulls and dog-fighting paraphernalia.
“They immediately had suspicions that these dogs were being used for dog-fighting so they called us in to investigate that," says Jennifer Gardner, a law enforcement officer with the Humane Society. Dervaughn Turner, 38, was arrested and is facing three charges: engaging in animal-fighting, animal cruelty, and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Virginia's attorney general Ken Cuccinelli will face former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe in November to become Virginia's 72nd governor.