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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on March 13th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 1 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 1

Recent cockfighting raid nets 233 birds


Responding to reports of an alleged cockfighting ring in the area, San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s deputies and animal control officers served a search warrant at a rural property on Orchard Road in Nipomo on March 8. They reported finding 233 roosters in cages.

Criminal roost:
Local law enforcement and animal control officers raided a rural property on the Nipomo Mesa on March 8 looking for evidence of a cock-fighting operation. They found 233 roosters, but the owners of the birds are still at large.

According to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department, evidence collected during the search indicates the roosters were raised and kept for fighting—a misdemeanor offense punishable by six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Department spokesman Tony Cipolla described the impound process in an e-mail to the Sun: “The birds are physically tagged with an individual number for tracking purposes. Each bird is photographed, and then they are left at the scene. Animal Control takes about six birds and keeps them at their office for use as physical evidence. If the owner removes the birds, he then commits a violation of Penal Code Section 135, destruction of evidence, which is a felony.”

The roosters are being held as evidence while the department identifies the owners. After the case is adjudicated, the birds will be euthanized.

“The birds are too aggressive and too violent [to be placed in adoptive homes] because they have usually been injected with large amounts of testosterone,” Cipolla said.

There have been no arrests in relation to this raid thus far.

Cockfighting raids are a common occurrence on the Nipomo Mesa; there have been periodic police raids over the years, including one in 2010 that bagged more than 500 roosters.