By Eugenia Jones
According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky, a McCreary County man is one of seventeen Kentuckians indicted on February 24, 2022 in four separate indictments issued by a federal grand jury sitting in London, KY for various offenses related to animal fighting and cruelty.
Seventy-two year old Bradley Cye Rose of Parkers Lake, KY, along with four additional individuals, was indicted in the second indictment and charged with exhibiting an animal, specifically a rooster, in an animal fighting venture at the Bald Rock chicken pit in nearby Laurel County. In the same indictment, the grand jury charged Rickie Dale Johnson, Jacklyn Rachelle Johnson, and Harold “Fuzzy” Hale (all of London, KY) with knowingly sponsoring and exhibiting animals in an animal fighting venture, in connection with the Bald Rock chicken pit in Laurel County.
The remaining three indictments alleged various offenses related to animal fighting and cruelty including allegations of offering a bribe to a law enforcement officer, promoting animal fighting events using instrumentalities of interstate commerce, and conspiring to operate animal fighting ventures.
“Animal fighting ventures are cruel and illegal,” said Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “We are committed to enforcing federal animal cruelty laws, and I want to commend the efforts of our law enforcement partners whose dedication and effort led to these indictments for the Eastern District of Kentucky.”
“The gruesome ritual of animal fighting simply has no place in a civilized society. Animal cruelty, however, is just one criminal aspect surrounding this barbaric activity. Whether it is illegal gambling or the attempted corruption of our public officials, the criminal enterprise surrounding cockfighting operations will not be tolerated,” said Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen, FBI Louisville Office. “Through outstanding cooperation and great work, the FBI and its state and federal law enforcement partners have dealt a serious blow to cockfighting and a multitude of other criminal activities in the Eastern District of Kentucky.”
United States Attorney Shier; Jason M. Williams, Acting Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General; Special Agent in Charge Cohen; Colonel Phillip Burnett, Jr., Commissioner, Kentucky State Police; and Superintendent Rob Townsend, Indiana Gaming Commission, jointly announced the indictments.
The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by USDA, FBI, KSP, and the Indiana Gaming Commission. The cases are being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kate Smith and Andrea Mattingly-Williams.
Each defendant faces up to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. One individual faces up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 for the attempted bribery counts. However, any sentence following a conviction would be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal sentencing statutes. Title 7 of the United States Code 2156 deals with prohibition of animal fighting ventures including sponsoring or exhibiting an animal in, attending, or causing an individual who has not attained the age of sixteen to attend an animal fighting venture.
Any indictment is an accusation only. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.