County Shoots 74 Gamecocks After Raid
Their fighting days are over.
The 74 steroid-muscled gamecocks seized in a weekend raid will no longer endure painful fights in caged arenas, where they are trained to fight to a bloody death. They are dead.
Al Carter, Moore County Animal Control director, said all 74 were shot and killed instantly, the accepted method of euthanasia for cockfighting birds. Officers used .22-caliber rifles to kill the birds at the scene.
"That's the protocol," Carter said. "These animals are extremely vicious."
Five men have been arrested since the Moore County Sheriff's Department raided an illegal cockfighting site at Eagle Springs Saturday. More arrests are expected.
Confiscated along with the gamecocks was a fascinating array of paraphernalia used to enhance the birds' fighting skills. Items seized included metal spurs, little boxing gloves and boots, steroids and hypodermic needles.
Carter says animal control officers handled the euthanasia process with the use of assigned firearms. However, this situation rarely occurs, and the officers did not have enough ammunition for 74 birds. They had to secure additional ammunition before they could kill the roosters.
Standard euthanasia, the painless injection used on domestic pets, would have been dangerous and difficult in the case of the fighting birds, according to Carter.
"They're not suitable for pets, and the Sheriff's Department did not need them as evidence," Carter said.
Because of the razor-edged artificial spurs, the gamecocks were collected in bags or boxes at the cockfighting site and were taken to the Animal Shelter for processing. Some of the birds were already tethered when officers arrived, and others were being held in boxes.
Sheriff's officers confiscated 10 vehicles, including one with cages built into the sides, along with steroids and the needles used to inject the birds. The vials of steroids were marked "for animal use only."
Also confiscated were tiny boxing gloves, little boots for their feet, and "a lot of spurs," along with tape used to attach the spurs to the roosters' legs.
Deputy Sheriff Chris McNeill said the birds' natural spurs are removed and the sharp metal spurs are substituted by taping them to legs.
"They bulk 'em up with the steroids," Carter said.
When deputies descended on the Dawson Place arena Saturday, several of the men dashed into nearby woods and escaped arrest. However, they left their trucks behind, and law-enforcement authorities are tracking them down through registration information.
McNeill said the Sheriff's Department knows their names, addresses and other vital information. Three were arrested at the scene Saturday. Two more suspects were arrested Wednesday, including the owner of the Dawson Place property -- Orgelio Catalan, 37. Also arrested Wednesday was 60-year-old Francisco Pulibo Arzate, of Robbins.
The three men arrested Saturday when sheriff's deputies raided the Dawson Place site have been released from jail after making $5,000 bail apiece. They are Obdulio Ventura, 38, of Troy; Luis Zavaleta, 28, of Candor; and Orlando Zavaleto, 28, of Troy. All three were charged with two counts of cockfighting.
Cockfighting is classified as a blood sport and is illegal in North Carolina and in almost all other states. It's also against the law in most countries.
The gamecock is not a separate breed but is a rooster that can be trained to fight. The confiscated birds are of several breeds.
Carter said about two dozen gamecocks were seized in a raid here a few years ago, but to his knowledge this latest incident is the largest seizure in recent county history.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story