One Charged in Seattle Cockfighting Busts

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One Charged in Seattle Cockfighting Busts

By Levi Pulkkinen, SeattlePI.com

One of several men implicated following a string of raids on three alleged cockfighting rings has been charged with animal fighting.

In charging documents, King County prosecutors say Guillermo S. Sijera, 53, was raising fighting roosters at his South Seattle home before animal-control officers were tipped to the alleged activity in late June. Sijera's arrest coincided with police actions in King and Pierce counties following reports of cockfighting in both places.

According to court documents, a woman renting a house near Sijera's residence at 3801 Renton Ave. S. in Seattle spotted two men holding roosters and swinging them at each other, apparently hoping to spark a fight. Examining the scene in the days that followed, an animal-control agent heard at least three roosters crowing.

Animal-control officers contacted a resident at the home and noticed a pit -- apparently used for animal fighting -- had been dug in the back yard. Questioned about the number of birds at the home, the resident allegedly told officers the birds were "for eggs."

Animal-control officers reported that two roosters seen outside the chicken house appeared to have had their legs modified so that blades used in cockfighting could be attached. A search of the home in early September uncovered 34 live birds, including several roosters, as well as cockfighting paraphernalia that included knives used in the fights.

After initially claiming he planned to send trained roosters to the Philippines, Sijera allegedly admitted to fighting the birds as part of an Auburn cockfighting ring, according to police statements. He was charged Monday with animal fighting, a felony.

Monday's charges were not the first Sijera has faced related to cockfighting, according to court documents.

Seattle Detective Danial Conine noted in court documents that Sijera was, literally, caught red handed by Skagit County authorities in 2001.

In that incident, Skagit County sheriff's deputies arrested Sijera during a raid on a suspected cockfighting ring and marijuana grow. When officers arrived, Conine said in court documents, Sijera's hands were covered in rooster blood.

Sijera was convicted of animal fighting following that arrest.

On the current case, Sijera is expected to be arraigned Oct. 29. King County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Dan Donohoe said police have not yet referred any other cases related to the raids for prosecution.