Close to 80 dead roosters have been found in the Watsonville area, in Santa Cruz, California over the past few months; apparently, the victims of cockfighting.
Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter officials are looking to the public for help in identifying the person or people responsible for holding these despicable events, according to an article in today’s The Mercury News .
A $5000 reward is also being offered by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.
Cockfighting is a barbaric blood sport that pits two roosters (Cocks), with knives attached to their legs, against each other in a ring to fight for their lives, until one loses. The fatal fights take place in a ring called a cockpit; usually while people watch and bet on which bird they want to win.
While cockfighting is illegal throughout the United States, it is only a felony in 40 states.
PETA spokeswoman Megan Wiltsie said in the article, that the deceased birds were found with their feet wrapped in gauze which is “typically used to fit them with boots that hold razor blades.”
Equally important, Wiltsie also confirmed that the reward is being offered, simultaneously, to anyone with “legitimate information” about two wounded young pit bulls, also found near Watsonville, that authorities believe were used as bait for dogfighting.
“Cockfighting and dog fighting are barbaric rituals that involve egregious animal cruelty and torture,” said Todd Stosuy, Animal Shelter Field Services Manager who further explained that the dogs used as bait are confined or chained while the game dogs attack; leaving the bait dogs either incapacitated or dead.
“The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter will work the District Attorney’s Office to prosecute those involved in cockfighting or dog fighting to the fullest extent of the law,” concluded Stosuy.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter at (831) 454-7200, ext. 1.