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(DALLAS, TX); February 19, 2022 – February 19, 2022 – Yesterday, during a civil custody hearing at the South Dallas Government Center, Justice of the Peace 1-2 Courtroom, in Dallas, the Honorable Valencia Nash presiding, the SPCA of Texas was awarded custody of 133 birds seized from cockfighting on February 12, 2022. No one came out to claim the birds and they will now be held for ten days as the law allows for any potential owner to potentially appeal the decision. Judge Nash awarded the SPCA of Texas $4,261.25 in restitution and decided that the property owner will be responsible for paying that restitution.
On February 12, the SPCA of Texas and the Dallas Police Department (DPD) seized 133 birds from a property in southeast Dallas where a cockfight had recently taken place. The SPCA of Texas took custody of the animals, including 123 roosters, eight hens and two deceased roosters. The live animals were transported to the SPCA of Texas’ Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center in Dallas, where they were evaluated by medical staff and cared for until the hearing could take place.
DPD’s Animal Cruelty Unit will oversee the criminal case and any subsequent charges against individuals who may be found responsible. DPD patrol officers responded to an anonymous tip regarding a cockfight in progress. Upon arriving at the scene, patrol officers contacted the DPD Animal Cruelty Unit to investigate further. DPD Animal Cruelty Unit officers then contacted the SPCA of Texas to assist with the removal of the animals.
Roosters were found throughout the property. Several roosters were found in an enclosure near the front of the property inside of wire cages in modified horse stalls. Several specialized boxes used to transport roosters to and from cockfights were found in various locations around the property. Other roosters were found outside, tethered to posts by strings attached to their legs. Deceased birds were found in various places throughout the property. A shed-type area that housed a plywood ring or pit where cockfights were presumed to take place was found close to the back of the property. A scale and cockfighting paraphernalia, including gaffs, were also found. Other animals were found on the property but were not removed by law enforcement.
Many of the roosters appeared to be lethargic and severely injured with multiple wounds. Other birds were found already deceased, having succumbed to injuries from fighting.
To view and download photos and video of the birds taken at the property, please click on the following link or copy and paste it into a browser: https://bit.ly/3gHy4io.
The animals were transported to the SPCA of Texas to receive further care during the investigation and pursuant to the current Memorandum of Understanding between DPD and the SPCA of Texas designed to bring animal cruelty perpetrators to justice. DPD and Dallas Animal Services work to receive and identify cases of animal cruelty in the City of Dallas, and DPD’s designated Animal Cruelty Unit oversees the investigation of these cases. The SPCA of Texas provides housing and medical care for animals involved in these cases during the investigation. For more information about the MOU and how the SPCA of Texas assists the Dallas Police Department with animal cruelty investigations, please visit www.spca.org/abuse.
Cockfighting is a crime in all 50 states, including Texas, where it is a felony to cause birds to fight with one another and/or to use property for the purpose of cockfighting, punishable by up to two years in a state jail and/or up to a $10,000 fine. In Texas, it is a Class A misdemeanor to possess, manufacture or sell cockfighting paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor to own or train a rooster with the intent to fight the bird and a Class C misdemeanor to be a spectator at a cockfight. Federal law also prohibits any interstate or foreign transport of fighting animals.
To help support the SPCA of Texas and its efforts to help abused, neglected and homeless animals and to support the SPCA of Texas’ other programs and services, please visit www.spca.org/give. To learn more about the SPCA of Texas, please visit their website at www.spca.org.
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