The case of NFL quarterback Michael Vick has prompted a surge in dogfighting busts and calls for tougher penalties on organizers and spectators, reports USA Today. Police pursued at least 42 new dogfighting cases in July and August, up from 17 in those two months last year, says the Humane Society of the United States. Federal investigators raided Vick’s property in June. The Vick case has raised public awareness and encouraged officials to take dogfighting seriously, says the society’s Michael Markarian.
The number of active cases in July was the most in any month since New York-based Pet-Abuse.com began tracking animal cruelty in 2002. Vick, who has been suspended from the Atlanta Falcons, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to engage in a dogfighting ring. The Humane Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals report that tips to them have doubled since mid-July. The groups doubled maximum rewards to $5,000 for a tip that results in conviction.