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Rewards offered in animal cruelty cases

Citizen Staff Writer



Animal lovers in Arizona’s smallest city and its largest county can now earn cash for helping to protect four-legged friends.

Hefty rewards are being offered in South Tucson and Maricopa County to people who report dogfighting and other acts of animal cruelty.

South Tucson, at 1 square mile, and the 9,224-square-mile county announced programs this week.

The South Tucson reward program, headed by the Tucson Dog Protection committee, offers up to $2,000 for information that leads to charges against Tucson Greyhound Park.

The Tucson Dog Protection ordinance, which passed on the November ballot, dictates better care for the park’s racing dogs.

Greyhounds at the park must not be left in their cages more than 18 hours each day, not be fed raw or diseased meat, and may not be given steroids.

“We are hoping that a cash reward might encourage someone who is on the fence about reporting a violation to come forward,” said Susan Via, a retired assistant U.S. attorney and head of Tucson Dog Protection.

“It is the law and it is going to be enforced,” she said. “Sometimes a financial push is all that is needed to get people to report it.”

Track general manager and CEO Tom Taylor could not be reached for comment.

Maricopa County’s program, headed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Humane Society of the United States, offers up to $5,000 to those who report dogfighting and other animal abuse.

Arpaio estimated that his office is housing about 200 animals inside a former jail in downtown Phoenix, including 15 pit bulls that were seized from rapper DMX, who is serving time in the county’s “tent city.”

Cockfighting and dogfighting are “undeniably cruel blood sports,” said Kari Nienstedt, Arizona director for the Humane Society.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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