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500 Fighting Birds Seized in Raid of Three Properties

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May 20, 2010

Animal Control Officers from the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services simultaneously served search warrants this morning at three separate properties where cockfighting is suspected in Pauma Valley and in the Orange County cities of Fullerton and Anaheim. In Pauma Valley, officers found 500 birds believed to be bred for cockfighting in the 32000 block of Rincon Rancho Road.

All of the properties belong to a 66-year-old male suspect and are part of the same operation. Two properties are residences, the other is a restaurant. At the residence in Pauma Valley officers found various cockfighting paraphernalia such as knives that are placed on the birds’ legs during a fight, while 400 knives, cockfighting trophies and photographs were seized at the restaurant in Anaheim. At least 100 knives were also found at the residence in Fullerton. The investigation was prompted after a complaint of malnourished horses on the property in Pauma Valley.  

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“Cockfighting is a brutal blood sport that has no place in a civilized society,” said Dawn Danielson, Director of the County Department of Animal Services. “We will actively investigate any reports of this cruel and barbaric activity and pursue criminal prosecution of anyone involved.”

Cockfighting is illegal in every state and it is a misdemeanor to own, keep, possess or train any bird with the intent that it will be used for fighting. In addition, if you possess sharp spurs, gaffs or knives that are placed on the birds’ legs during a fight, or if you are simply a spectator at an exhibition of animal fighting, these activities would be considered misdemeanor violations as well.  Felony animal cruelty charges can be filed when the birds have been injured in a cockfight.  Upon completion of the investigation, the case will be submitted to the District Attorney’s office for possible prosecution.

The Department of Animal Services encourages the community to report possible cockfighting activities. If you witness numerous roosters being kept tied up in close proximity to each other or see them kept in adjacent cages, it’s a good possibility that the birds are being raised for fighting. If you suspect cockfighting activity, please contact the Department of Animal Services at (619) 236-2341.

One of the 500 birds seized
in the raid.
 Officers seized these metal implements typically used in cockfighting.


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