'How could you morally do that?' Animal lovers share their concerns for a recent animal fighting investigation

Animal activists speak out following a massive animal fighting investigation.

Posted: May 24, 2019 5:55 PM

OWEN COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI)- Just Thursday.. the ASPCA and the Indiana Gaming Commission raided properties in Morgan and Owen counties in Indiana.

During that raid.. more than 600 dogs and birds were rescued.

Friday morning, News 10 spoke with local animal advocates and they tell us it's an 'under-the-radar' issue that's impacting the Hoosier state more than people realize.

Mackenzie Smokstad is an animal lover and activist who personally relates to this topic because of her rescue dog, Otis.

"You can just tell the trauma that he's lived through. He has the scars, it's just so disheartening. Even when my mom will take a broom out of the closet to sweep the floor, he'll get all jittery and scared... just to see this animal so scared over something so normal, so you can only imagine what he's lived through and seen, " said Smokstad.

On the other hand, what we don't often see is the rehabilitation of these animals.

We spoke with Sarah Valentine on the rehabilitation process, she is the manager of the Terre Haute Humane Society.

"Animal fighting is absolutely horrible. I don't understand why people still do it, it is illegal," said Valentine. "Not only is it illegal...but how could you morally do that?" 

As a manager, she has seen a fair share of abuse walk through the door and knows the long process of getting animals back to a stable place.

"There's going to have to be a lot of evaluations that go on. There's going to have to be a lot of testing with the dogs just to see where they are. Are they rehabilitable or not? It's always going to be a one day at a time and one moment at a time just to see how they're going to do in the end," said Valentine.

It's a concept that most people have a hard time making sense of.

"I don't know if they're doing it for sport or doing it for money but there are so many other ways and vessels that we can channel that energy into instead putting animals lives in danger and the expense of their lives," said Smokstad.

Martin Anderson was arrested in connection to this case and he faces one count of purchasing an animal to be used in an animal fighting contest.

If he is to be convicted.. he faces up to "two and a half years in prison and a $10,000 dollar fine.

The Terre Haute Humane Society wants individuals to say something if they see something suspicious going on before issues like this reoccur. 

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