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
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
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
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
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.