McCreary County Sheriff Responds to SHARK Video
By Eugenia Jones
An Illinois based animal rights activist group has posted a second video to Facebook concerning alleged cockfighting activity and lack of law enforcement against the activity in McCreary County. The post has been widely shared. The second video comes approximately five weeks after the nonprofit group, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) posted their first Facebook video highlighting alleged cockfighting in three Kentucky counties, including McCreary. SHARK members travel across the country investigating alleged cockfighting by going undercover and using drones and hidden cameras to infiltrate, film, and expose cockfighting as part of their nation-wide “Crush Cockfighting” campaign.
The latest posted video begins with SHARK President, Steve Hindi, giving a brief overview of SHARK’s efforts in Clay County, Kentucky where the group obtained video footage of uniformed deputies from the local Sheriff’s Department mingling at a cockfight. Hindi alleges corruption within the Clay County Sheriff’s office in connection with the cockfighting activity.
The video then moves to McCreary County where Hindi alleges cockfighting activity is protected by the local Sheriff’s Department and Kentucky State Police. Both law enforcement agencies deny the allegations.
The video begins filming in McCreary County with members of SHARK acting on a tip about cockfighting activity on Low Gap Road east of Pine Knot in June, 2020. According to the video, a SHARK drone discovered the activity, and members called the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department. In the video, Hindi alleges corruption in the Sheriff’s office because of lack of follow-up. Hindi states those in the office “wouldn’t even pick up the phone.”
However, McCreary County Sheriff Randy Waters, has a different viewpoint.
“SHARK should have called 9-1-1 dispatch,” Waters stated. “We do not have the office staffed after business hours and on weekends; however, officers continue to patrol and answer calls through dispatch. We do prioritize emergencies.”
Waters, who originally ran for office on the campaign pledge of, if elected, being available to the public and answering calls 24/7, is adamant he and his deputies are fulfilling that pledge. A campaign clip of Waters expressing his desire to answer all calls in a timely manner is included in the SHARK video.
“My campaign pledge is spot on,” Waters declared. “The Sheriff’s Department answers probably 97% of all law enforcement calls coming through 9-1-1 dispatch, and we definitely answer all calls specifically directed to our Department.”
Waters, who has viewed the video, has a question of his own.
“Where’s the corruption?” Waters asked. “We answer our calls, we prioritize emergencies and dangerous situations, and we’ve not received calls about chicken fighting down there. SHARK contacted KSP, so it became a KSP case. We would have helped them-and still will-if needed.”
When contacted regarding their weekend calls to the Sheriff’s Office in June, Hindi responded.
“We are still interested in speaking with the Sheriff’s Department,” Hindi said. “We would like for the two groups to work together. If there was bad timing when the calls were made, that is in the past. We hope to put that in the past so we can work together in the future.”
(The Voice will continue its coverage of this story next week with response from Kentucky State Police.)