Cockfighting Ring Busted Near Los Angeles, Hundreds of Fighting Roosters Discovered

Posted on: July 22, 2022, 01:39h. 

Last updated on: July 26, 2022, 12:23h.

Authorities in the Antelope Valley seized 228 alleged cockfighting roosters while serving a search warrant in Antelope Valley, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said Thursday.

cockfighting roosters
More than 200 alleged cockfighting roosters were seized by L.A. Sheriff’s deputies. One of the roosters seen above. (Image: L.A. County Sheriff’s Department)

In addition to the roosters, 500 to 600 pounds of cannabis — worth an estimated $500,000 on the street — and a .22-caliber rifle were seized. A male suspect was arrested and booked at the Palmdale sheriff’s station, though authorities did not say what he was charged with.

Cockfighting and illegal trafficking of drugs run hand in hand,” read a statement from Wayne Pacelle, president of the animal-rights group Animal Wellness Action.

“The northern, remote parts of Los Angeles County have long been a hotspot for illegal cockfighting operations, and here we see this plain evidence of this organized criminal activity again,” the statement continued.

California’s anti-cockfighting law provides for misdemeanor felony penalties. It is also a federal crime to engage in a wide range of cockfighting activities, including possession of animals for fighting. Los Angeles County has an ordinance banning private ownership of large numbers of roosters, as do Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties.

Coming Home to Roost

Although it may come to a surprise to some people, cockfighting busts continue to occur across the United States. In some states, the sport has a long history.

Just last week, Cherokee County, Texas authorities raided a cockfighting ring, citing 50 people and seizing 97 roosters.

In March, 32 people were cited, and 125 roosters euthanized after a raid on a cockfighting ring in Dorchester County, South Carolina. In the same month, 17 people in Kentucky faced federal charges of animal cruelty tied to cockfighting after being indicted by a grand jury.

In February 2002, Texas authorities seized more than 100 chickens in an alleged Dallas-area cockfighting operation, turning them over to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. And in April 2021, Dallas authorities seized nearly 300 birds from a Grand Prairie, Texas, cockfighting operation.

Congress passed a law 20 years ago that made possessing and shipping birds for cockfights illegal. Five years later, it became a federal felony.

International Sport

Though cockfighting is illegal in all 50 US states, it is culturally accepted and legal in much of South America.

In the Philippines, it is considered the national sport, and “The World Slasher Cup” is a popular annual televised event.

Online cockfighting, however, has recently been banned in the Philippines. In a speech in May, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he decided to ban e-sabong. This is a flip from his former stance and comes despite the activity’s economic benefit. Duterte said the ban would be immediate.

E-sabong is reportedly worth an estimated PHP640 million (US$12 million) a month, according to Philippine news sources.

Cockfighting has historically been very popular in the Philippines. However, online betting on the event has become more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.