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Breaking News: 4,000 Birds Seized in Largest Cockfighting Bust in NY History

Monday, February 10, 2014 - 8:30am

This weekend, at the request of the New York State Attorney General's Office, the ASPCA, the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police, assisted with the removal, transport and sheltering of as many as 4,000 fighting roosters in the largest cockfighting case in New York State history.

On Saturday, February 8, the ASPCA seized 65 birds as a result of a cockfighting bust by law enforcement agencies in Woodhaven, Queens. Six arrests were made for violation of the animal fighting law. The ASPCA also discovered rooster carcasses that had been killed earlier in the night during the cockfighting event.

Simultaneously, police executed a search warrant at Pet NV, a pet shop in Brooklyn, resulting in the seizure of 50 roosters as well as other animals including hamsters, finches, rabbits and snakes. ASPCA responders found the roosters living inside metal cages in the basement of the pet shop, with physical alterations to the roosters consistent with cockfighting.

At both properties, cockfighting paraphernalia, including artificial spurs, candle wax, medical adhesive tape, syringes used to inject performance enhancing drugs to strengthen the roosters’ fighting ability, was discovered.

The following morning, February 9, the ASPCA assisted law enforcement agencies as they raided a 90-acre farm where as many as 6,000 roosters and hens were seized. The farm had operated for years under the guise of a live poultry farm, and the birds were living in deplorable conditions. Many showed signs of starvation and other conditions requiring medical attention. The owner of the property collected rent from rooster owners and blood sport enthusiasts in exchange for boarding, feeding and caring for their birds.

The ASPCA established a temporary shelter at an undisclosed location, where the birds will be cared for and housed pending disposition.

Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states. In New York, cockfighting and possession of a fighting bird at a cockfighting location are felonies, with each charge carrying a maximum penalty of four years in jail and a maximum fine of $25,000. Additionally, attending a cockfight is a misdemeanor, with a possible sentence of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. 

Stay tuned to ASPCA.org/blog for more news to come--and please consider making a gift to the ASPCA today so we can rescue more victims of blood sports and animal cruelty. Together we can save animals from lives of suffering and abuse.

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Cindy

What will happen to all of the seized birds? I have room for some more hens. The fighting roos will be hard to place. I have a wonderful, well behaved roo and can't upset him as he is getting up there in years. Anyway.. Where can the public find out about adoption though?

ASPCA

Hi Cindy, We are still working to remove all of the birds upstate. We are transporting them to a temporary shelter, where we will house and care for them. The birds are considered evidence in the criminal case until disposition is determined by the court.

Tammie

Why did the new farm bill signed Feb 7th 'spectator' admendments not apply? The news indicates spectators were arrested but released? I understood the new farm bill would allow for charging spectators with a federal felony?

VINE Sanctuary

As a sanctuary with 10+ years of experience in rehabilitating former fighting roosters, we are willing to offer advice and instruction to any sanctuary able to take in some of these birds. We hope that roosters and hens will be placed together -- it's so much harder for sanctuaries to say "yes" to roosters unaccompanied by hens.

Wayne Johnson Ph.D.

In most cases, after excellent law enforcement like this, the birds are killed. That is so wrong. It victimizes them twice. Please use the funds at your disposal to make use of the first class sanctuaries (Farm,Woodstock,Vine...) that exist in the Northeast.

VINE Sanctuary

Since the ASPCA closes this post by referring to this as a "rescue" of the birds, we are sure that they intend to place, rather than kill, as many as possible. We have worked with the ASPCA on other bird rescues and look forward to working with them on this.

Nena Miller

Everyone should be charged and fined, the birds deserve that much.

Patricia Massari

Thank you so much!! This is great news!! I really hope that you will place as many birds as possible...when I visited VINE Sanctuary in Vermont last year they had many former fighting roosters there who they had worked with and lived very happily...It will be so great and be a true rescue for some of these birds to have a chance at a good life...thank you.....

Tanisha M Lopes

Thank you so much, I hope these birds have a good chance at having a happy ending.

Alessandra Rupa...

Thank you for your dedication and ongoing work. I hope that these roosters can be rehabilitated in Sanctuaries and find a second chance away from cruelty and exploitation. We will share to help gathering contributions. Thank you again!

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