143 roosters euthanized after Riverside County deputies bust illegal cockfighting event

More than 140 roosters were euthanized after Riverside County sheriff’s deputies Friday exposed an illegal cockfight in the Jurupa Valley, authorities said.

At around 10:36pm, MPs answered a call about an illegal cockfighting gathering at Block 5900 of Troth Street. When deputies arrived at the house, 200 people dispersed and 143 birds were found in cages throughout the property, many of them dead or seriously injured, Sgt. Patrick Samosky said in a statement.

John Welsh, a spokesman for the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, described the scene as chaotic when the deputies arrived. People crawled off the property to flee and some of the birdcages were crushed in the onslaught, he said.

Welsh said all 143 birds would have to be euthanized because the department “cannot adopt such birds as they are valuable and they would almost always end up in a cockfighting ring again.”

“These birds are bred to be fighting birds,” Welsh said. “So you can’t take these 143 birds and put them on a farm. You’ll just peck yourself to death. They would all have to be separated. But there is always a concern on our part [whether] These birds will end up in another cockfighting operation.”

A bird is held by two hands

One of 143 birds euthanized by the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.

(Riverside County Department of Animal Services)

The unnamed homeowner, who lives where the cockfight took place, claimed ownership of all 143 birds and turned them over to the Department of Animal Services, which humanely euthanized them on Saturday, authorities said. The homeowner was also subpoenaed for possession of fighting blades used in a cockfighting event by Riverside County animal control officers.

Welsh said some of the birds found still had fighting blades strapped to their bodies and wings with plumbing tape, posing additional dangers to animal control officers trying to capture them.

Welsh said illegal cockfighting in Riverside has a strong history, with animal service officials answering calls for illegal rings every two months, but has since waned in recent years.

Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 US states and may be considered a misdemeanor or felony in California. The Riverside County Department of Animal Services is attempting to file animal cruelty charges against the homeowner with the Riverside County Attorney’s Office. 143 roosters euthanized after Riverside County deputies bust illegal cockfighting event

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