Caring for roosters from cockfighting operation keeps shelter staff busy

November 26, 2018

Nebraska Humane Society staff members are staying busy caring for the 186 roosters confiscated from a cockfighting ring in Cass County, a shelter official said Monday.

“We’re taking care of the birds, but it’s a massive effort,” said Mark Langan, the humane society’s vice president of field operations. “It takes at least eight employees to properly clean the cages, feed and water the birds.”

After receiving an anonymous tip on Saturday about cockfighting at a farm near Louisville, Nebraska, Cass County deputies, Cass County emergency management officials and animal control officers from the Nebraska Humane Society went to the farm and seized 186 live roosters there. Authorities also found 11 dead roosters and another rooster that had to be euthanized at the scene.

Officers arrested 32 people on suspicion of participating, viewing or promoting cockfighting. Some also were arrested on suspicion of obstruction of a peace officer. Two juveniles also were detained and released to their parents.

Veterinarians are examining the birds and photographing them for use in court by the Cass County Attorney’s Office, Langan said. Under Nebraska law, people convicted of participating in animal fighting, a felony, are subject to up to three years in prison.

The place where the birds are being housed is not being disclosed for security reasons, Langan said. The shelter has been contacted by outside groups that have offered to help care for the roosters, Langan said, but nothing has been decided.

Part of the evidence, he said, will be hundreds of “hook-shaped razor blades” that were found inside “beautifully monogrammed boxes” inside the barn. The blades, which are attached to the birds’ feet, are used in cockfighting to slash opponents in the ring.

Langan said that while the cockfighting operation was one of the largest the Nebraska Humane Society has encountered, Langan said he is under no illusions that the brutal blood sport has been halted in this area.

“We are aware that cockfighting continues to take place in the Midwest,” he said. “This is the second time in less than two years that we have made arrests for cockfighting.”

In 2017, an Omaha man was arrested in connection with running a cockfighting operation from his home near 42nd and H Streets. In that case, animal control officers confiscated 20 roosters.

“It makes all of the employees of the Nebraska Humane Society sick to their stomachs knowing what these birds are used for,” Langan said. “There’s no reason in the world to fight animals.”

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