PORT ORCHARD, Wash. -- Two men have been arrested and hundreds of roosters have been seized as agents busted an illegal cockfighting ring in Port Orchard.
Investigators had received complaints about cockfights occurring in a rural area of Port Orchard.
Their investigation revealed the owner would host fights there on weekends. The birds were given steroids and other drugs and outfitted with knives and gaffs to fight other birds.
The owner would take bets ranging from $100 to $2,000, and then the birds would be put inside a pen to fight.
The property owner would charge an entry fee and a fee to dispose of the dead birds. The referee would also get a 10% cut on the winnings.
"The conditions that these animals were living in is not the type of conditions you would see on your normal family farm. The roosters were all tethered on a 4-5 foot leash connected to a barrel. Some of them had water. Some had run out. There was some feed. They were pretty much living in their own feces," said Heather Songer, Washington State Gambling Commission. "Not only is animal fighting a brutal, bloody sport. It’s also illegal. And even just attending an event can land you in jail."
Agents went in during an event on Saturday and seized $35,000 in cash and over 300 roosters. Two men, ages 56 and 57, were arrested and booked into the Kitsap County Jail for investigation of gambling, animal fighting and leading organized crime. A third person was arrested for failing to provide his name to police.
Police say more than two dozen other people were detained at the event with charges forwarded to the Kitsap County prosecutor for review as attending an illegal animal fighting event is a felony.
The roosters were humanely euthanized on site by certified animal control staff, police said. The birds can not be rehabilitated or enter the food supply due to the drugs they've been given. Hens and chicks were collected by animal control staff and will be rehoused, police said.