Sheriffs often don’t enforce the laws against either
RIPLEY, Mississippi; WOODSTOCK, Illinois; NEW IBERIA, Louisiana; MORGANTOWN, North Carolina––The seven deadly sins, in traditional Christian teachings decried from almost every Bible Belt pulpit at least once a week, are pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth.
Cruelty, toward either humans or animals, is illegal throughout the U.S. and almost everywhere worldwide.
Many specific forms of cruelty, including cockfighting, are specifically outlawed, lest there be any misunderstanding about the acceptable bounds of human behavior.
Cruelty is not a sin?!
But cruelty is not among the seven deadly sins, as traditionally listed.
Nor is cockfighting. Cockfighting is traditionally prosecuted as a morals offense, not as cruelty, made illegal because it encourages gambling.
Perhaps because cockfighting is “only” a morals offense, like fornication and public intoxication, many a sheriff, especially in the Bible Belt, appears to feel morally justified in ignoring it.
Complaints to local sheriffs from Showing Animals Respect & Kindness and others about cockfights in progress, and complaints about mayhem against steers and horses, in both U.S.-style rodeo and Mexican-style charreada rodeo, typically provoke displays of at least five or six of the seven deadly sins from the gents with the badges and guns.
Lust is the deadly sin most often not on exhibit, while sloth is the offense most often evident.
Ranting like a storefront preacher
On both Saturday, June 3, 2023, and Sunday, June 4, 2023, Showing Animals Respect & Kindness [SHARK] founder Steve Hindi was left frustratedly ranting like a storefront preacher when the sheriff’s departments in both Tippah County, Mississippi, and McHenry County, Illinois apparently did nothing, respectively, about a well-publicized cockfight and a charreada rodeo at which the tails of multiple steers were degloved [stripped of skin] by vaqueros trying to jerk them down by the tail from the backs of running horses.
Emailed Hindi to SHARK supporters on the morning of June 4, 2023, “Yesterday we sent out an email regarding Tippah County holding a cockfight in the evening. Many of you called the Tippah County Sheriff’s Department, and for that we are so grateful that you did!
“Unfortunately, the Sheriff’s Department did nothing and the cockfight continued!”
“These sheriffs are corrupt and corruption doesn’t change”
Charged Hindi, “Tippah County sheriff Karl Gaillard is every bit as corrupt as Sheriff Jim Johnson,” who has ignored many cockfighting complaints, “in neighboring Lee County. A number of you told us that you had pleasant conversations with people in the sheriff’s office,” Hindi acknowledged, “but that was merely to placate. Meanwhile, animals with razor sharp weapons tied on them continue to be forced to fight and die.
“These sheriffs are corrupt and corruption doesn’t change overnight,” Hindi repeated. “The only way to stop sheriff Karl Gaillard’s reign of corruption is to remove him from office, and preferably replace his sheriff’s uniform with that of a federal prisoner.”
The very next afternoon Hindi and other members of the Showing Animals Respect & Kindness drone team were obliged by McHenry County deputy sheriff and part-time substitute school teacher Derrick Waters, who clearly did not know the federal and state laws pertaining to drone use, to interrupt drone surveillance of the charreada at which steers’ tail skin was ripped off for two hours while Hindi and team paid a visit to the sheriff’s office.
“The Iberia Sheriff’s Office is lying”
Frustrated as Hindi was, normally mild-mannered and softspoken Humane Society of Louisiana founder Jeff Dorson, 35 years on the job, may have been at least as infuriated that same day by comparable sheriff’s department slothfulness and mendacity, another offense somehow omitted from the traditional Christian list of the seven deadly sins.
“The Iberia Sheriff’s Office is lying to the public and has yet to investigate the death of six cats,” Dorson charged via Facebook.
“Last summer,” Dorson explained, “an Iberia resident saw several cats in the window of a tenant who had moved away, leaving them behind. The resident contacted the sheriff’s office several times, only to be told that they could not help and that if she attempted to remove the cats, she would be arrested. The cats died a slow, agonizing death,” before Dorson and the Humane Society of Louisiana learned of the situation.
“Wrong on every level”
“To add to this terrible situation,” Dorson continued, “the sheriff’s office is lying to the public and has yet to initiate an investigation. They maintain that the witness never contacted its office until six months after the cats died.
“We have provided the sheriff’s office with the name of the cat’s owner and pictures taken of the crime scene,” Dorson said. “The deputy who finally responded to the call in February 2023 refused to exit his vehicle or look at the pictures of the carcasses. He simply told the witness that he would write a report and added that he doubted that anything could be done.
“This is wrong on every level,” Dorson proclaimed, announcing his intent “to hold the sheriff’s office accountable until justice is served, until the suspect is arrested and charged with six counts of aggravated cruelty to animals.”
Alleged cockfighters busted in North Carolina
There are, however, some sheriffs in the Bible Belt who actually do their jobs as specified by law.
In Nash County, North Carolina, for instance, sheriff’s deputies on March 18, 2023 filed felony charges against alleged cockfight operators Richard Perry, 63, Bobby Eatmon, 40, and Dustin Collie, 38, booking them into the Nash County Detention Facility.
Other attendees and participants fled in an estimated 20 to 30 cars, but the bust was a start toward bringing legislation against immorality and legislation against cruelty to animals into rare harmony.
Case Farms gets a pass
Two hundred thirty-seven miles straight west, though, in Morganton, North Carolina, the KFC supplier chicken supplier Case Farms was, and probably still is, killing vastly more birds that the cockfighters, by means not less cruel, with legal impunity.
According to the San Francisco, California-based organization Legal Impact for Chickens, “a 2021 undercover investigation by the animal advocacy group Animal Outlook found that a Case Farms hatchery that processes more than 200,000 chicks per day “has been documented knowingly operating faulty equipment, including a machine piston which repeatedly smashes chicks to death and a dangerous metal conveyor belt which traps and kills young birds.
Sued by Legal Impact for Chickens
“Case Farms was also documented crushing chicks’ necks between heavy plastic trays,” a Legal Impact for Chickens media release said on May 24, 2023, announcing a lawsuit filed on that day in Burke County District Court.
The lawsuit alleges that Case Farms’ Morgantown hatchery is violating the North Carolina law prohibiting cruelty to animals.
But the Legal Impact for Chickens lawsuit is probably dead on arrival before a judge because North Carolina law Article 47, Cruelty to Animals, § 14-360, section 2A, states an exemption for “Lawful activities conducted for the primary purpose of providing food for human or animal consumption.”
It does not say that operating faulty equipment is unlawful.
Incidentally, Article 47 § 14-360 also mentions that “Nothing in this section shall be construed to increase the penalty for cockfighting provided for in G.S. 14-362.”
Why is that?
Because, in the Bible Belt, cockfighting is a morals offense, but cruelty to animals is not.
And business as usual is not illegal, no matter how abusive or amoral.