U.S. Attorney will pursue violations of cockfighting ban ‘within the available resources’

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Shawn Anderson, the U.S. Attorney for Guam and the CNMI.

Shawn Anderson, the U.S. Attorney for Guam and the CNMI, has issued a statement advising that his office will make every effort to pursue violations of the cockfighting ban “within the available resources of the Department of Justice.”

In response to a request for comment from the Pacific News Center, Anderson noted that the enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 has effectively criminalized every aspect of the animal fighting industry nationwide.

Beyond criminal enforcement of this new provision, Anderson said “our office may also seek civil forfeiture of any property involved in or facilitating such an offense” and courts may also order a defendant to make restitution payments for the costs of caring for seized animals.”

The cockfighting ban takes effect this Friday, Dec. 20.

Let us know what you think by answering our poll question “Do you think cockfighting should be banned?” You can find the PNC weekly poll at pncguam.com

Read U.S. Attorney Anderson’s full statement below:

“In determining whether to commence or decline a prosecution, we consider whether a person’s conduct constitutes a federal offense, and that the admissible evidence will probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction.” 

“Where the law and the facts create a sound, prosecutable case, the likelihood of an acquittal due to the unpopularity of some aspect of the prosecution or because of the overwhelming popularity of the defendant or his/her cause is not a factor prohibiting prosecution.  With the enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Congress has effectively criminalized every aspect of the animal fighting industry nationwide.  Beyond criminal enforcement of this new provision, our office may also seek civil forfeiture of any property involved in or facilitating such an offense.  Courts may also order a defendant to make restitution payments for the costs of caring for seized animals.”

“Federal law enforcement resources are not sufficient to permit the prosecution of every alleged offense over which federal jurisdiction exists.  Some may wonder whether this crime is worth our time.  Others may believe it is past time to finally act.  The public should know that our office will make every effort to pursue violations of this statute within the available resources of the Department of Justice.”

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