New York authorities have seized over 6,000 birds and arrested about 70 people in the largest cockfighting bust in NY history.
The animals were rescued as part of Operation Angry Birds, which targeted cockfighting in Queens, Brooklyn and Ulster County. Nine of the 70 people taken into custody were charged with felony charges.
“Cockfighting is a cruel, abusive and barbaric practice that tortures animals, endangers the health and safety of the public and is known to facilitate other crimes,” said New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman.
In Queens, police raided the basement of a shop on 8 February were fights where held twice a month and rescued 65 birds.
In Brooklyn they raided the basement of pet shop Pet NV where 50 animals were rescued as well as other animals including hamsters, finches, rabbits and snakes.
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, stated the ASPCA.
A 90-acre farm in Ulster County was then raided in 9 February where about 6,000 roosters and hens were seized.
The animals are now in the care of the ASPCA.
“No animal should be forced to fight to the death, and we’re proud to play a leading role in removing and caring for these victimized birds, as well as offering expert legal assistance in this case,” said ASPCA president Matthew Bershadker.
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.
To help the ASPCA take care of the thousands of rescued roosters and hens, please consider making a donation here.