WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | News, Weather, Sports

Sheriff claims deputy seen in undercover video of cockfight was searching for fugitive

MANCHESTER, Ky. (AP) - A deputy shown in an undercover video
standing by at a cockfight without intervening was at the site in
search of a fugitive, according to an eastern Kentucky sheriff.
Clay County Sheriff Kevin Johnson identified the deputy as
Dwayne Hess, a volunteer. Johnson said an internal review is under
way.
Johnson told The Times Tribune of Corbin on Wednesday that he
had viewed the video footage released a day earlier by The Humane
Society of the United States.
In the video, a uniformed Kentucky State Police trooper and two
local law enforcement personnel are shown apparently watching the
cockfight at an arena in the Laurel Creek Game Club in Clay County
without intervening.
John Goodwin - manager of animal fighting issues for the Humane
Society - on Tuesday urged the Kentucky legislature to pass a bill
strengthening and clarifying the state's animal fighting law. He
released a list of 27 Kentucky sheriffs who support a bill filed by
Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Louisville, that would accomplish that goal.
Johnson's name was not on the list, but he said after seeing the
video that he endorsed the bill, which would upgrade animal
fighting in Kentucky from a misdemeanor to a felony. The bill also
would clarify the law so it applies to birds as well as four-legged
animals.
He said he had supported changes to the law even before the
video was revealed because he believes animal fighting is cruel,
regardless of the species involved.
"I'm definitely for the clarification of the law," Johnson
said.
Goodwin had said the video showed the growing problem of
cockfighting in Kentucky, which is home to an estimated 1 million
gamecocks believed used in such battles. The brief video contained
footage shot by hidden camera this year and last.
"We believe it sends a very bad message that law enforcement is
tolerating this," Goodwin said.
State police officials said the trooper shown on the video had
been sent to the arena to investigate a complaint. They declined to
say what kind of complaint or to identify the trooper.
"The troopers, as well as other local law enforcement, have
responded to this location on numerous occasion for complaints of
illegal activity not related to cockfighting," said state police
Lt. David Jude. "When illegal activity has been observed by the
officers, charges have been filed. And those have been related to
drug and alcohol activity."
Jude told the Corbin newspaper that an internal inquiry into the
incident has begun.
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Information from: The Times-Tribune,
http://www.thetimestribune.com

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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