Justice Served in Dogfighting Case Underscores why the Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act needs to be passed into Federal Law
Drug Trafficking and Dog Fighting Ring Leader Sentenced to Thirty Years In Prison
On June 4, 2021, Jason R. Coody, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, sentenced Jermaine Hadley to 30 years in federal prison. Hadley headed a drug trafficking organization affiliated with a violent gang in Florida that was responsible for the distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA, possession of illegal firearms, and operating a largescale dogfighting ring throughout the north-central Florida Panhandle between 2018 and 2019.
The investigation into Hadley resulted in the rescue and rehabilitation of over 100 fighting dogs along with the seizure of drugs, numerous firearms, and large sums of U.S. currency. In addition to Hadley's sentencing, a total of 21 others were arrested that were involved with the extensive drug trafficking and dogfighting operation which included criminal links to Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.
A Victory for Multiple Federal, State, and Local Agencies that Worked Cooperatively on the Case
The investigation and prosecution in the case was the result of the collaborative efforts of numerous federal, state, and local agencies. Their exemplary efforts should be applauded and emulated.
Long Delays and Lack of Enforcement of U.S. Animal Cruelty Federal Statutes
While the Hadley et al case was brought to victorious justice, the vast majority of criminal cases involving egregious crimes against animals aren't fully investigated and prosecuted. According to the U.S. Department of Justice's own records, between 2015 and 2019, less than 200 defendants were charged, convicted or sentenced for federal animal welfare offenses. This is why the passage of the Animal Cruelty Enforcement (ACE) Act into federal law is crucial.
The ACE Act would create a specialized Animal Cruelty Crimes section at the DOJ to increase their ability to pursue more cases across the nation. Federal statutes that would fall under the jurisdiction of the division include the Animal Fighting Venture Prohibition Act, the Horse Protection Act, and the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act. The Animal Cruelty Enforcement (ACE) Act is a pragmatic law-and-order bill that will help protect animals and help keep our communities safe from violent offenders, illegal drug distribution, and other crimes.