RUSK COUNTY, Texas (KETK)- The Humane Society of the United States gave the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office an award on Thursday for their efforts to shut down cockfighting rings.

The sheriff’s office received the 2021 Humane Law Enforcement Award and a plaque from Lauren Loney, the Texas State Director for the HSUS. Rusk County Pets Alive and Animal Investigation and Response were also recognized.

“We are grateful for the leadership of the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office, who went above and beyond on combatting cockfighting, a violent crime that harms everyone in our communities,” said Loney.

Deputies busted multiple cockfighting rings in the summer. In July, 125 animals were seized and 13 people were arrested.

Sheriff Johnwayne Valdez, mentioned they appreciated receiving the award for their efforts in the community.

“This award, it means a lot to us here at the sheriff’s office. It lets all the guys know that what we do does affect a lot of people, and it’s a situation, it makes us all want to work a little harder,” he said.

The HSUS Humane Law Enforcement Awards are typically given to officers who stand up against animal cruelty.

The HSUS said they work hard to pass laws that protect animals, and the help they recieve from law enforcement is significant.