ASPCA Assists with Removal of More Than 200 Birds in Cockfighting Raid
At the request of the Stone County Sheriff’s Office, the ASPCA is assisting with the removal of more than 200 birds from a property associated with cockfighting in Stone County, Missouri. We’re also assisting local authorities with evidence collection, medical assessments and ongoing care of the birds at a temporary shelter in an undisclosed location with support from the Great Plains SPCA.
Investigators found birds, mainly roosters, living in makeshift wire cages, many without access to proper food or water. Authorities discovered several birds with injuries consistent with cockfighting, as well as cockfighting paraphernalia, including gaffs and spurs used to maximize injury during fights, and drugs to enhance their performance.
“Cockfighting is a heinous form of animal cruelty that causes unimaginable suffering for the birds who are forced to fight, and the ASPCA is committed to tackling organized animal fighting across the country,” said Tim Rickey, Vice President of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “The ASPCA encourages the public to alert authorities when they suspect animal fighting activities in their communities, and we commend the Stone County Sheriff’s Office for taking swift action with this investigation.”
During cockfights, birds commonly suffer from injuries including punctured lungs, broken bones and pierced eyes. These injuries are often the result of knives and artificial gaffs—long, dagger-like attachments—that are attached to the birds to maximize injury. Often, steroids or other drugs are administered to the birds to make them more aggressive.
In Missouri, conducting a cockfight, as well as the possession of birds or paraphernalia for fighting, are Class E felonies, each punishable by up to four years in prison, as well as a maximum fine of $10,000.