11/27/07 — Four arrested on cockfighting charges

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Four arrested on cockfighting charges

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on November 27, 2007 1:47 PM

Roosters armed with metal weapons meant to help them kill one another are the reason four men face charges after a Saturday morning raid, authorities say.

Wayne County Director of Animal Control Justin Scally says dogfights get most of the attention, but added that cockfights like the one stopped by Wayne County officials are just as brutal.

And he said such fights are being held in Wayne County.

"There's been a lot of public attention on dogfighting, but cockfighting is just as horrendous as any dogfight," Scally said.

Five men faces charges: Fidel Gonzales, 43, of Clinton, German Lopez, 30, of Albertson, Janier Herrerra, 47, of Seven Springs and Antanasio Mujica, 48, of Dudley are charged with felony cockfighting, Scally said.

Scally heard reports of cockfighting in progress and says authorities found dead birds when they stormed a gathering in the woods behind a home in the 2400 block of Zion Church Road near Seven Springs.

They did not actually see a fight in progress, Scally said, but authorities seized 54 birds.

Scally said there was a "mass dispersal" of people at the cockfight, at which many tools of the brutal trade were seized, including metal gaffs, spurs and gloves.

Spurs are little bracelets with a "curved, sharp spike" that gets attached to the bird's leg, the animal control officer said.

Gaffs and knives are also tied to the leg to make the roosters more dangerous to one another.

Scally said he has asked around, and this is the first cockfighting ring involving the animal control office in at least 20 years.

It isn't clear if the people involved in the fighting were placing bets or if money was otherwise involved, he said.

The roosters have now been seized and are being held for safekeeping, but Scally said he doesn't know who offered the birds up for fighting.

"Unfortunately, I have no idea where they came from," he said. "Everything's going to be looked into."

Scally said he knows this instance of animal fighting isn't the only one occurring in Wayne County.

"There is animal fighting in the county, and we're working to address that issue," he said.