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Rockford Authorities Bust Major Goose-Fighting Pit

Rockford Authorities Bust Major Goose-Fighting Pit

Rockford, IL — Rockford area authorities took steps to shut down a goose fighting pit in the basement of City Hall on Friday afternoon after multiple undercover investigations by RDP (Rick’s Dream Police) and the RGA (The Rockford Goose Alliance) revealed criminal conduct.

Authorities uncovered a huge arena with bleacher seating, concession stands, trophies, goose fighting paraphernalia and rental holding spaces for participants’ geese with space for more than 1,000 animals during the execution of a search warrant. The RDP seized evidence and is continuing the investigation. The RGA assisted with the investigation by providing authorities with access to a confidential informant and expertise for evidence collection.

In the affidavit for the search warrant, an undercover RDP agent describes attending an illegal goose fighting derby on August 23, 2016. According to the affidavit, the agent witnessed the president of the RGBA (Rockford Goose Breeder’s Association), Lonny Helms, addressing the crowd at the derby and describing his group’s efforts to block legislation to strengthen the penalties for Goose fighting in Rockford. Helms admitted that he is a hunting friend with a state representative who would assist in those efforts. The agent also claims that Helms encouraged all participants to join the RGBA and solicited donations. There were 117 participants in that derby, each with seven geese competing.

Sean Honkerson, director of Canadian Geese crimes for the RGA, said: “We’ve been targeting this pit for years, as it draws participants from across the internet, has regular attendance of more than 400 people on a weekly basis, and can bring in more than $1 million throughout a goose fighting season, not counting side bets. The number of birds who have lost their lives in this pit is staggering and heartbreaking. We are grateful to the RDP for pursuing this case and finally moving to shut down this facility.

Thor, King of all geese in northern Illinois

Mindy, Queen of all geese in northern Illinois and mother to many goose fighting champions

In 2012, The RGA filled a complaint with the RGBA requesting an investigation of the Rockford Goose Breeders Association, arguing that it is unlawfully masquerading as a “nonprofit” while profiting from illegal goose fights. Goose fighting is illegal under federal and state law, but Rockford has the weakest anti-goose fighting law in the country and carries a maximum fine of $10 which can be paid using your LINK card.

The RDP, RGA and RGBA are doing their best to make Rockford great again for America on the internet.


Tags assigned to this article:
goose fightingrickrockfordRockford Dream Police

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