Update: 4,000 Birds Seized in Largest Cockfighting Bust in NY State

Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 2:30pm
Ulster County Update

Earlier this week, we told you about our support of a massive cockfighting bust that spanned three counties in New York State. At the request of the New York State Attorney General's Office, the ASPCA is still on the ground at an Ulster County farm, assisting with the removal, transport and sheltering of as many as 4,000 fighting roosters.

While our responders establish a temporary shelter, where the birds will be cared for and housed pending court disposition, law enforcement officers have arrested three individuals associated with the farm, where birds allegedly destined for cockfights, were bred and trained. The owner of the property was apprehended in south Florida, and according to investigators and an article in the New York Times, has operated an extensive cockfighting pipeline for years.

Several other arrests were made on Saturday night when investigators busted a cockfight in Queens and raided a pet shop in Brooklyn. 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.

Stay tuned to for more news to come—and please consider making a gift to the ASPCA today. Together we can rescue more animals from lives of suffering and abuse.

Ulster County roosters

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I was raised on a farm where we grew everything we ate including and not limited to pigs and chickens. We also had deer,rabbits,fish and squirrel. The Indians would offer a prayer for every living thing they ate asking for forgiveness in killing and taking the life of said animal. I do not believe in killing animals for sport just to get the biggest set of antlers even though I was brought up around hunters. I live in an area where it is not unusual to see a deer laying on the side of the road hit by a vehicle. I feel bad for these animals but they also feed the food chain of other animals such as vultures raccoon crows and coyotes etc. Though I do not like deer meat or fish that much and rabbit and squirrel are definitely out of my diet unless I need it to survive I do eat chicken and turkey and some fish. We are meat eaters and the choice to be a vegetarian is just that a choice. I cannot see my self eating dog or cat or even horse unless it was a survival thing so unless you walk around in some one else s skin do not judge. As for cock fighting or dog fighting that is just cruel and no animal should be subjected to that. Is it more human to raise them to eat maybe not I do know, but you cannot just let them go on populating the earth with out some control. And that brings up a whole new set of questions why should we as humans be allowed to populate the earth at will. So many questions so few right answers.

Karen Glaub

Hope they get the maximum punishment.

Lanette Rapp

Thank you so much for all you do to end animal suffering of all kinds.


I think everyone here is right, including Anonymous, who is probably being misunderstood- he or she is trying to say this (correct me if I'm wrong Anonymous),
"Why are you all getting excited about the cock fighting bust when there is also so much cruelty going on every day in the intensive farming business where millions of chickens, roosters and chicks die each day, and in the most cruel forms!"
I think he or she may be trying to figure out why people are forgetting about the fact that these roosters also die each day behind the closed doors of corporate intensive farming facilities, but few people are willing to condemn this or consider it cruel because they just want to keep eating animal flesh. The argument about eating to survive is countered by one reply that said that we do have a choice and our supermarkets today are stocked with plenty to choose from. The other argument is that unfortunately there is no humane farming. Intensive farming corporations are in it for the profits, and these profits are the result of an economy driven by the demand. So if you feel pity for these roosters which were destined to a life of misery, why don't you feel some sort of pity for the ones that are born in crammed, filthy areas where there is no room, chickens are packed and often can't even flap their wings. Their beaks are chopped or singed so they don't peck each other to death (because they go crazy in such cramped spaces), they can't sleep on something resembling their own environment because they live in wire cages to allow the excrements to pass through. But people choose not to view this type of cruelty. Mind you, corporations do everything in their power so the general public doesn't find out about it. IF you want to learn more why don't you just go to Youtube and watch one of the many documentaries available on intensive farming (some are by PETA, some are not).
The same argument goes for the fact that we choose which animals have a right to be treated kindly and which don't, the latter are generally so far removed from our sight that in a way they're removed from our consciousness. So making an analogy between the roosters saved in the cock fighting bust and the animals in the meat industry is correct, they are indeed related, it all depends on how much some of these readers here are willing to go out on a limb to save ALL animals, even the ones we don't necessarily see daily.
Why don't you start opening a few doors out there? You'd be so surprised to see what you'll find, I guarantee it will change the way you view animal cruelty.
And let's not forget, there is an element of cowardice behind the analogy mentioned above. We talk so much about surviving, needing meat to survive, but in many or most cases it's because there is someone else out there who does the dirty work for us- the brutal killing! I'll bet anything that if many of these people actually had to go out and kill the animals they eat, many would become vegetarians...!
Did you know also that slaughterhouses employ illegal immigrants and - or other people who are generally underpaid, many of which suffer from stress due to the constant killing- killing is an occupational hazard. But the demand is high, so they must kill.
Does anyone ever think about this as well...^

Tricia Hamilton

I hope they get maximum jail time. I hope they suffer just like these birds suffered.


This is wonderful news. Thank you for this great work!
Please come to Kentucky!! Animals are abused throughout this state & the law does little/nothing to help them or prevent ongoing abuse. We need cockfighting rings--as well as numerous other animal abuse rituals--busted here!


How do I get in touch with the ASPC about a person I know who is raising cocks for fighting, they live in poor condition, little water, in the cold. The local animal control has done nothing. In NC, thanks.


Simply comparing the described conditions of these chickens and the ones raised for human consumption... these chickens have it made and are surely living the good life! Do you know what the conditions on chicken farms are like?? See movie Food Inc. or just something random like this article:

human heart

In response to comments. Regardless, every creature that it was created needs to be treated with respect and dignity. It does not mater if you are vegan or meat eater. Bottom line is that we need to be compassionate for these precious defenseless animals. Just like you and I or the whole world these living creatures have feelings: They feel pain, sadness, cold, hungry and the list on. They also cried for their love ones. I grew up with many animals in the farm. My dog knew when I was sad or crying. She used to leek my tears. My chickens responded me when I called them by name. The mother hen/chicken used to get very sad and upset when she count find one of her chicks. We ate chickens once in a while. We used their eggs. When it was time to eat them my Mom and Dad ended their life fast and humanely. They did not suffer at all. Animal suffering like dog fighting, cockfighting for profit it is purely cruel. Animals suffer in puppy mills, slaughterhouse and the list goes on. It is unacceptable. there is no need for that. As said it is inhumane, cruel and evils there is no other words to describe. But is true that you do not need meat to survive. You can replace proteins/meats for all kinds of beans, eggs, tofu, seeds, nuts and the list goes on. Living in the farm we did not eat meat but once to twice a month. So folks next time you hear about animal abuse think what I had to say about these precious and defenseless creatures.

Maryjo Gray

Maybe they should get a charge for each bird they possessed. Like 4 yrs for each and every bird....AND a 25,000.00 fine for EACH bird.
Thank you to all the hero rescuers.