On Saturday, February 28, 2009, Oakland Police Department (OPD) raided an East Oakland warehouse where a cockfight was in progress with approximately 100 spectators. Oakland Police arrested 69 individuals, impounded five cars with roosters, seized $4,400 in cash from the yard and from spectators, and gathered boxes of cockfighting paraphernalia. Oakland Animal Services handled the 118 birds found on the property, many of whom were severely injured or dead.
Cockfighting is illegal in California, and the possession of roosters is prohibited in Oakland. Of the 69 people arrested, 67 were cited and then released for attending the cockfight and/or possession of birds for fighting or cockfighting implements—misdemeanors that can carry heavy fines. Two men were arrested and taken into custody; one who stated he resides at the property was charged with allowing cockfighting on the premises. The second man was charged with aiding and abetting since he entered the cockfighting ring and tried to grab the fighting birds when OPD officers entered the scene. OPD also seized cash and five cars with roosters that were related to the fight.
When animal control officers arrived, they found two roosters, one dead and one dying, in the constructed “fight pit,” 28 recently dead birds in a hole in the yard, 10 dead birds inside, and 80 live birds. Approximately half of the live birds were moderately to severely injured. These injuries consisted of lacerations from fighting with “gaffs,” extremely sharp knifes that are attached to their feet. As the birds fight, these knives slice and cut, until one bird is killed and the other is declared the “winner.” Animal control officers humanely euthanized all of the seized fighting cocks because of their extreme aggression; eight hens from the property were brought back to the shelter to be adopted.
“Cockfighting is extremely brutal and inhumane and often goes hand in hand with other serious crimes. I’m proud that Oakland Police Department takes cockfighting seriously and is acting to decrease this crime in the city” stated Oakland Animal Services Director Adam Parascandola. “Captain Anthony Rachal from Area 3 and his staff under Sgt. Michelle Allison’s direction executed a well coordinated raid on the property leading to the arrest of 69 people involved in this heinous activity.”