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Cockfighting fairly prevalent, warns LA/SPCA

Published: Aug. 20, 2013 at 2:12 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2016 at 8:56 PM CDT
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One of the roosters caught in last week's raid in N.O. East
One of the roosters caught in last week's raid in N.O. East

New Orleans, La. - There's a state law against it, but cockfighting may be more widespread in this area than people realize. That's according to the Louisiana SPCA as it follows up on last week's seizure of 600 birds from a remote New Orleans neighborhood.

At the SPCA office in New Orleans Monday, dozens of people showed up to adopt hens and baby chicks.

"These are good egg layers," said Robert Raymond of Lacombe.

The birds available for adoption are just some of the 600 seized from Trinh Tran's property in New Orleans East last week. SPCA investigators also took roosters that they believe Tran was using for cockfighting.

LA/SPCA CEO Ana Zorrilla explains, "The roosters were being housed in New Orleans, were being bred in New Orleans but weren't being fought in the City of New Orleans. They were being fought in other states."

Zorrilla says cockfighting in and around New Orleans happens much more frequently than most people realize. She says bird owners know how to hide the animals. In Tran's case, Zorrilla says, the birds were housed in a commercial area away from homes.

Eventually a tip led investigators to the property, and the largest single-day seizure in LA/SPCA history.

"Bringing in 600 more was a huge impact because each of those animals needed food, water, their cages to be cleaned, fresh hay. So it was a labor-intensive operation," said Zorrilla.

The roosters are being euthanized, but the adoption process for the chicks and hens will remain open. The publicity that this case has garnered is bringing people from all over the state.

One thing the SPCA suggests is that anyone adopting a bird first consult with their vet. None of the birds are being tested for salmonella because state law says, if a bird stays within the state, it doesn't have to be tested.

"We don't know where these birds came from so we don't know that they've ever been certified. So it is important that anyone adopting is aware that that's a risk and that they should talk to their veterinarian about that risk," said Zorrilla.

The SPCA will open its doors again Tuesday morning to allow the adoption process to continue.

Cockfighting was only banned in Louisiana in 2008 and it was the last state in the nation to do so. In March of this year, New Orleans outlawed roosters.