Herring to host law enforcement conference on animal fighting

mark herringAttorney General Mark Herring is teaming up with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and the ASPCA for a statewide Law Enforcement Conference on Combating Animal Fighting in Virginia.

The event will give police departments, sheriff’s departments, and prosecutors from around the state the tools they need to identify and investigate animal fighting, strategies for building a case against suspected animal fighters, and tactics for successfully prosecuting animal fighting cases. The daylong conference will take place on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, and it is open to all Virginia law enforcement that register.

“Animal fighting often brings with it a host of other criminal activities, like gambling, drug distribution, illegal firearms, and illegal liquor,” said Attorney General Herring. “By helping Virginia law enforcement recognize the signs of animal fighting, we can help put an end to a cruel and inhumane activity, while also addressing other criminal activities in their communities. I encourage all law enforcement organizations to consider participating.”

During several panels during the conference, expert presenters from the Office of Attorney General, the Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force, the ASPCA, and forensic veterinarians will train attendees on how to successfully prevent and stop animal fighting and how to successfully prosecute animal fighting crimes. Panels will include Prosecution Challenges, Remedies and Opportunities In Forfeiture, and Necessity of Using Forensics in Court.

“Thanks to Attorney General Herring, we have once again gathered many of the foremost experts, including prosecutors and other law enforcement officials, veterinarians, and forensic scientists, to continue the dialogue on how best to combat animal fighting,” said APA President and CEO David LaBahn. “This conference is designed to assist all those concerned with animal fighting to enhance law enforcement and prosecutor efforts in animal fighting prosecution cases.”

Attorney General Herring’s office recently worked with the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia Tim Heaphy to prosecute the operators of one of the largest cock fighting rings in the region. Five individuals have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from 6 months to 1.5 years in addition to fines and asset forfeiture for their roles in operating a cock fighting ring in Virginia and Kentucky.

Potential law enforcement attendees can view the tentative conference agenda HERE and register for the Law Enforcement Conference On Animal Fighting HERE. Prosecutors who attend may also be eligible for CLE credit.

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