Former Cockfighting Roosters Seized in Cleveland Will Receive Rehabilitation and A New Life


On June 19, 2014 twelve new roosters arrived at SASHA Farm and things would never be the same. We are learning about the horrific things people do to roosters just for their entertainment. In May we received an email from the Cleveland Animal Protective League about some very special roosters that needed to be placed in new homes. We were committed to helping. Fifteen total birds were seized from a disbanded cockfighting ring. Most of the birds bear the sad appearance of shaved bellies and legs, clipped spurs, combs cut-off and missing eyes and/or blindness. These cruel alterations and injuries followed these reported circumstances:

”CPD detectives contacted the Cleveland APL humane investigators requesting assistance on a search warrant. Fifteen chickens were in a musty, filthy room in the basement with raw sewage on the floor. The stench was nearly overwhelming. Some of the birds were underweight, injured and ill. Three of the birds were loose in the room walking freely amongst the waste. Some of the other roosters were housed in individual enclosures that were full of feces and urine. No water was available for any of the birds in the enclosures and only one small bowl of filthy brown water was available for the free roamers. The only food available was corn and not all birds had access to that. Some of the birds had apparent wounds and eye infections. There was a makeshift pen with blood smeared on the walls and we found spurs, syringes, medications, timer and performance enhancement drugs consistent with a cockfighting operation. The owner admitted to training the birds for fighting and shipping to Puerto Rico. The owner agreed to surrender all of the birds. Multiple charges pending against owner.”
–Cleveland Animal Protective League.

The roosters will be rehabilitated over time to be integrated with the general population of roosters and hens at SASHA Farm. This takes time and patience. For this reason many times former cockfighting roosters are euthanized because no one takes the time to work with them. We feel these poor roosters deserve a second chance. Most are very sweet and like to be held by people. They were used to being kept in a dark, filthy basement. Now they enjoy being outside in the grass on a sunny day and taking dust baths . Through daily care by volunteers and staff they will be socialized and begin their transition to a life free from fear and free from the expectation to kill one another. We will see these roosters change over time but we too will change with them. We’ll learn about animals who have been previously forced to endure cruelty evolve into animals who live in peace and existing for their own reasons and not to serve humans.

Read about the story here:

Three major cockfighting rings were busted in the U.S. so far this year. Cockfighting is illegal at both the state and federal level in all 50 states. Cockfighting usually takes place among gambling and other activity. It’s a cultural tradition in places like the Philippines and very popular in Puerto Rico where the roosters where destined to go. Cockfighting is masqueraded as a “sport” that takes place in a “family” atmosphere where no illegal activity takes place. We know from evidence recovered and people arrested at the scenes that this is simply not true. At these cockfighting matches people place bets on a rooster and the two roosters fight until one is killed. After the brutal match is over the rooster who lost is dumped like trash. The roosters are also fitted with gaffs on their ankles. Gaffs are knives that have a single or double edged blade. The gaffs are capable of puncturing organs and breaking bones in the rooster. As if this was not bad enough the people who participate in this sometimes shave the bellies and legs of one rooster to make the fight bloodier. Roosters’ combs are cut-off to prevent them from being torn off during the fight. These roosters then lose their ability to cool themselves in hot weather because they do not have sweat glands.

Without further explanation you can see how disgusting and heinous cockfighting is. While it is illegal in all 50 states the penalties and fines vary. Often the fines and penalties are minor. Cockfighting in some states is a felony but not all. Stronger penalties need to exist and these places that hold these gruesome matches need to be shut down. Here are some additional resources if you would like more information.

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