Major Cockfighting Raid is a Major Disappointment

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Major Cockfighting Raid is a Major Disappointment

[Ed. Note: Read Rooster Rehab to learn how cockfighting roosters can be rehabilitated.]

By Sharon Seltzer on Care2.com

The only ones to suffer are the animals who are supposed to be protected in the raid.

A major cockfighting raid over New Year’s weekend in Texas revealed the ugly truth about rescue missions of this nature. The only ones to suffer are the animals who are supposed to be protected in the raid.

The operation on January 2nd seized 118 fighting roosters.

Unfortunately, their capture will probably turn into a death sentence for the most of them.

On the other hand, the barbaric event will only mean a “slap on the hand” for the people arrested at the fight.

Authorities acted on a tip about a large-scale cockfight that was scheduled in a barn in the small town of Poolville over the first weekend of 2010. The sheriff’s department in Parker County began surveillance of the area and obtained the necessary search warrants when they had enough evidence. Then they coordinated the raid along with members of the local police department, the USDA’s Office of Inspector General and a six-member team from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

The raid was a huge success. Law enforcement officers confiscated large sums of cash and drugs and arrested 176 adults.

Sadly, the raid also took into protective custody 10-15 children who had been taken by their parents to watch the cockfight. They ranged in age from 7 to 15 years old.

As in previous seizures, the roosters were found in deplorable conditions. Six birds were injured and another half-dozen were already dead by the time the raid occurred. The dead roosters were found in the trash “among beer cans and bottles of whiskey.” The birds had been forced to wear one-inch knives around their legs during the fights – making it even more dangerous.

Although the operation successfully stopped a horrific act from being completed, the roosters will probably pay the biggest price for the raid. They were taken into custody and their fate will be determined at a court hearing.

John Goodwin of HSUS said this about their future, “They could end up abandoned, a few might be placed at some type of sanctuary, or their owners may want them back. But many of them will be euthanized because they’re bred to fight.”

The concept that these birds may lose their lives because of a raid that was initiated to help them - is repulsive.

And it seems even worse in Texas where the owners have the opportunity to have the birds returned to them. Although cockfighting is a felony in the state, it is perfectly legal to own fighting birds.

The Texas raid insulted animal lovers even further when most of the people arrested, were released after paying fines of $300. Some of the organizers will face further charges for animal cruelty, illegal gambling and organized crime, but for the majority - the fine will be the extent of their restitution.

HSUS members also noted the callous behavior of the organizers of the fight who brought along their young children. They noted, “Some of the cock-fighters brought their children to the fights – about 10 to 15 of them – and as sheriff’s deputies raided the facility, they abandoned their children and fled the scene. Fortunately, Child Protective Services was on hand to help.”

Sadly, the first raid on a large-scale cockfighting operation in 2010 was disappointing. And unless more work is done to stop the barbaric practice, it is likely to continue into the next decade.