PAUMA VALLEY–County Animal Services discovered nearly 300 roosters at the site of an active cockfight in Pauma Valley Sunday.
Sheriff’s deputies called Animal Services to the 18200 block of Quail Drive, where animal control officers seized nearly 100 roosters and euthanized 183 others.
A decade ago, nearly 20 years ago, Oklahoma made the possession of small chickens and cockfighting a federal crime, thereby making it illegal to buy, sell or possess with intent to sell any fowl. The penalties associated with this type of violation are quite severe and include prison time and hefty fines. The law makes it illegal to transport any fowl to another state except by licensed commercial drivers, unless they are certified to do so, as well as transporting within the limits of the United States and only within the country. Also, anyone who knowingly possesses any fowl that has been raised and not harvested for consumption must register as an illegal wildlife trafficker. These penalties have resulted in a sharp decline in the egg production industry within the state, but the industry is still thriving and growing.
“Cockfighting is a cruel and barbaric blood sport that is unacceptable in today’s society,” said County Animal Services Deputy Director Dan DeSousa. “Unfortunately, these birds are bred, trained and medicated for only one purpose, to fight, so they are not suitable for adoption.”
The property owner was cited for possessing 85 cockfighting knives that are attached to roosters’ feet for cockfights. He was also cited for possessing 126 game cocks, which he relinquished to Animal Services. Spectators were cited for attending cockfights.
Animal Services says another 154 roosters were found in boxes at the site and had apparently been brought there for fighting. Some were euthanized but 47 roosters were taken to the County facility in Bonita and another 50 to Carlsbad. The owner of those birds has 10 days to request a hearing to contest the seizure of their animals.
All of the charges that were issued are misdemeanors but the department is looking into possibly referring a felony animal cruelty case to the District Attorney for the death of two birds found in a vehicle on the site.
A misdemeanor is punishable by imprisonment in County jail for up to six months, a fine up to $1,000 or both. A felony is punishable by up to three years.