Pennsylvania man, 76, pleads in cockfighting case
WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) — A 76-year-old southwestern Pennsylvania man will spend two years on probation after pleading no contest to owning a bird used for cockfighting, though his attorney contended the man was no longer involved in the illegal sport.
The plea by Thomas MacFann, of West Pike Run Township, on Monday settled a case that began in August 2012 when state police raided his farm.
MacFann agreed to forfeit nearly eight dozen roosters seized during the raid, after Washington County prosecutors consented to dropping a related forfeiture action against his entire farm, the (Washington) Observer-Reporter reported Tuesday.
“Mr. MacFann was not engaged in any illegal activity at the time of the search,” defense attorney Martin Dietz said after the hearing, adding that cockfighting trophies at the farm were more than seven years old.
The case might have settled sooner had the Humane Society of the United States not demanded MacFann pay it to house the seized chickens, said Assistant District Attorney Joseph Zupancic. The Humane Society still has the birds, and will determine what happens to them next, the prosecutor said.
“For a while, the Humane Society of the U.S. was going to try to recoup their costs in keeping the 92 chickens,” Zupancic said. “I think they thought dropping the cost (issue) would resolve the matter, which it did.”
MacFann was charged by a state police-organized crime task force with animal cruelty and possessing instruments of crime, namely various implements and harnesses which authorities say are used to train and store fighting birds. Dietz contends MacFann gave up cockfighting years ago, and only kept his birds tethered because their bloodlines make them “born fighters” that would attack one another if they weren’t restrained.
Information from: Observer-Reporter, http://www.observer-reporter.com