Hundreds of roosters were rescued by animal services Sunday after sheriff’s deputies discovered an active cockfight in California's Pauma Valley.
Of the nearly 300 roosters seized 183 had to be euthanized. The rest were taken to county animal services.
“Cockfighting is a cruel and barbaric blood sport that is unacceptable in today’s society,” said County Animal Services Deputy Director Dan DeSousa. “Unfortunately, these birds are bred, trained and medicated for only one purpose, to fight, so they are not suitable for adoption.”
The property owner was cited for owning 85 cockfighting knives that are attached to the roosters’ feet for cockfights. He was cited for possessing 126 game cocks and the spectators were cited for attending the cockfights.
Another 154 roosters, to be used for cockfighting, were found in boxes at the site animal services said. Nearly 100 of the roosters were taken to Bonita and Carlsbad, but the rest had to be iimediately euthanized.
"These birds are perfect cockfighting specimens, comb is cut off the top of their head, the waddles are cut off from underneath and the spurs are cut from their feet,” DeSousa added. “The unfortunate thing is, these animals are going to have to be euthanized."
According to DeSousa prized birds can go for $2,000 a piece.
"People consider this to be a sport, to us it's not a sport. it's a barbaric and inhumane abuse of animals," he said.
DeSousa explained when a rooster loses a fight they are usually so cut up they're just thrown to the ground to bleed to death.
"Cockfighting is legal in Mexico and is legal in the Philippines and we have very large populations of people from both countries,” DeSousa said. “They say it’s part of their culture, part of their society and our answer to that is take it back to Mexico and the Philippines. Do not do it here.”
So far the owner has only been charged with misdemeanors, but animal services may refer a felony animal cruelty case to the district attorney for the death of two roosters found in a car on the site.
The owner could face up to three years in prison for a felony charge, and has 10 days to request a hearing to dispute the seizure of the animals.
DeSousa said their violent nature makes the roosters unsuitable for adoption so, unfortunately, they will all be euthanized.