Suspected cockfighting operation uncovered near Perris
FUENTE: THE PRESS ENTERPRISE
21 / JUNIO / 2009
By JULISSA McKINNON
When sheriff’s deputies did not find a man accused of running a chop shop at his Perris-area home Friday night, they ended up seizing what they say are more than 50 illegal cockfighting birds.
Riverside County sheriff’s deputies had been attempting to serve a search warrant on the man they accuse of dismantling stolen vehicles to resell the parts on the black market. Instead, they stumbled upon a row of 57 caged roosters. They also found what they say is a box of illegal cockfighting weapons, tiny blades called “gaffs” or “shearers” that are attached to a bird’s talons to wound its foe.
Cockfighting is a blood sport in which two roosters are thrown into a ring to fight to the death. It is illegal throughout the country since 2007, when Louisiana became the last state to ban the sport.
John Welsh, spokesman for Riverside County Department of Animal Services, said in recent years animal-control officers have busted a handful of cockfighting bird breeders and raided several tournaments in action.
He said the fights sometimes draw hundreds of spectators and the defeated bird is often abandoned in the ring, bleeding and mangled but still alive.
“It continues to happen in Riverside County where you still have wide-open spaces and a lot of land — and folks who live out in the sticks may not be as bothered by roosters crowing,” he said.
The owner could face animal cruelty charges in addition to charges associated with the possession and resale of stolen vehicles, Welsh said.
Welsh said the confiscated birds will be euthanized because if the county adopted them out, they would likely end up in the wrong hands.
“Some of these roosters are pumped with steroids. They would just end up in cockfighting rings months down the road,” he said.
Reach Julissa McKinnon at 951-375-3730 or jmckinnon@PE.com