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Photo Gallery | PHOTOS: Cockfighting ring busted in El Dorado County

SHINGLE SPRINGS, CA - Dozens of birds were rescued during an El Dorado County cockfighting ring bust Wednesday.

Animal services served a search warrant at a Shingle Springs property where they found 75 game birds, El Dorado County Animal Services Chief Henry Brzezinski said. All the birds were removed from the property.

"Some of the birds could be saved," Brzezinski said.  "Unfortunately, some of the birds had to be humanely euthanized because their behavior was too aggressive for them to be rehabilitated."

Birds in cockfighting operations are bred to be aggressive by chemical injections, stimulants and hormones; plus, inhumane training methods. Brzezinski said before a fight, each rooster outfitted with a knife on one leg, and then they are taunted into fighting each other until one dies.

 "A variety of evidence was collected in relation to the operation.  The investigation is continuing," Brzezinski said. "Large amounts of money, drugs and weapons are often involved in cockfighting matches. There are also often other crimes and violence associated with these activities as well. We take this kind of operation very seriously."

Brzezinski said cockfight rings are not rare in El Dorado County communities and other rural areas of the Sacramento region.

If someone is convicted of cockfighting in California, penalties can include jail time and/or fines up to $5,000 for a first offense and $25,000 for a second offense. Brzezinski said there may be more cockfighting operations in California because it is a misdemeanor crime in the state.

Anyone who suspects there is a cockfighting ring on a property is urged to call authorities.

Some signs of a possible cockfighting ring include:

  • A large number of roosters tethered to a crude shelter or confined in pens
  • Roosters whose combs, wattles, or natural spurs have been cut off
  • Roosters with untreated wounds and/or other signs of neglect 
  • A large number of chickens being bred and kept outside in unsafe or unsanitary conditions
  • The sound of many roosters crowing in remote areas, coupled with many people coming and going, especially on weekends and holidays

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