Las Vegas Police Rescue 300 Birds Groomed for Cockfighting, One Person Arrested

Posted on: January 29, 2021, 11:56h. 

Last updated on: January 30, 2021, 07:31h.

Police in Las Vegas made one arrest Friday as detectives and Clark County Animal Control officers confiscated more than 300 roosters groomed for cockfighting.

Las Vegas cockfighting
A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officer holds a rescued rooster from a Las Vegas home on Friday. Police and animal control authorities say 300 birds were being groomed for cockfighting. (Image: LVMPD/Twitter)

A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department tweet said authorities placed an unnamed person in custody on a drug charge. However, authorities said that person will eventually face animal cruelty charges.

The bust took place in the 4000 block of Judson Ave., located roughly four miles northeast of downtown.

Police told KTNV-TV that many birds they found there had the spurs removed from the back of their legs. That typically takes place to prepare them for fighting. Officers also found the types of razors typically attached to the birds’ legs for fighting.

Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states. At the federal level, current laws make it a felony to purchase, ship, or train an animal for fighting purposes. Instruments like razors used on birds are also illegal to buy, sell, or transport. However, the vicious sport where birds fight to the death thrives in other parts of the world, where it serves as a major gambling activity.

A couple of years ago, Clark County officials vowed to crack down on illegal rings happening in rural parts of the Las Vegas Valley.

“Inhumane and Unconscionable”

In a statement, Animal Wellness Action Executive Director Marty Irby thanked officials for casting a light on a “horrific practice.” Irby added it remains a prevalent animal welfare issue, not just in Nevada, but across the country.

Irby said cockfighting helps spread disease.

Cockfighting is not only inhumane and unconscionable, but is also a breeding ground for the next major pandemic, such as COVID-19,” Irby said. “We call on the US Dept. of Justice and state and local officials to take swift and harsh action against those who seek to perpetuate this barbaric blood-sport.”

Within the past year, Animal Wellness Action has conducted investigations in Kentucky and other states where breeders are involved in trafficking birds across the globe.

Group Says More Laws Needed

Nearly three years ago, Congress passed bipartisan legislation that extended the prohibition to all US territories, including Puerto Rico.

Cockfighting was long a popular attraction on the island commonwealth. But when Puerto Rico’s legislature passed a sports betting law two years ago, it offered free sports betting licenses for 10 years to cockfighting dens that closed because of the federal law.

Now, Irby and Animal Wellness Action are calling on Congress to do more. The group has asked elected officials to pass the Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act. The proposed law would create an animal cruelty unit within the US Department of Justice.

A bipartisan group of House members filed the bill last August. However, since a new Congress assumed office this month, supporters must reintroduce it.

Animal Wellness Action maintains a major presence on Capitol Hill. The group also played a major role in lobbying for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act. That reform measure passed at the end of the last term.