Cock fighting bust raises questions among deputies - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Cock fighting bust raises questions among deputies

By Sylvia Hall – bio | email

STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Cock fighting, pitting roosters against each other and making them fight to the death, is something you might hear about or read about in fiction.  But this week in Stone County, Sheriff's investigators say they discovered a real cock fighting ring and made 42 arrests.

Stone County deputies said they found 21 dead birds and confiscated 24 live birds at a home on Bud Bond Road Sunday.  But what they haven't found yet are state laws they believe match the crime.  Those arrested face misdemeanor charges, and a fine of $100, plus court fees.  This week, a bill to make animal cruelty laws tougher, died in the state legislature. 

Chief Deputy Phyllis Olds explained how cock fighting works.  Each rooster is fitted with sharp spurs on its feet before the fight.

"It's got a leather band on it, and this is one that was very sharp, it's like a razor," said Olds. "It will literally cut the other one."

Olds calls it animal cruelty.

"A game bird is a living breathing thing," said Olds.  "Why would you do it like that?"

In all, deputies said they found 45 roosters, some still fighting to the death as deputies approached.

"When he walked up, the two roosters were still in the pen fighting," said Olds.  "And there was a lot of feathers, so you can tell this was not their first fight."

Investigators said a large audience watched, including several children.  Chief Deputy Phyllis Olds said she worries about the youngsters watching, and also about a small bottle found on the scene.  The label indicated it was filled with prescription epinephrine. Olds believed was used to prepare roosters for fights.

"If you can get a bottle of this [epinephrine] to take to cock fights, who's to say you can't get a bottle of this to cook meth with," said Olds.

Despite her questions and concerns, Olds hasn't found any state laws against cock fighting that carry a harsh sentence.  She wants Mississippi to take a serious look at bolstering the consequences for cock fighting.

"I really think that we need to start writing our legislators and talking to our congressmen about getting stronger laws passed against cock fighting," said Olds.  "It's a blood sport. It's been going on for centuries, it's a very inhumane way for an animal to die."

Because they are domesticated, the Sheriff's Department said the roosters are considered private property and will be returned to their owners.  As of Friday afternoon, six roosters were still in police custody.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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