Law enforcement officers interrupted a cockfight in progress Sunday morning at a farm property on Telephone Road east of Santa Maria. Two injured roosters were found, and later euthanized, as well as six dead birds and 15-20 live roosters that were taken to County Animal Control. The raid, conducted by Santa Maria Police Department and California Highway Patrol officers in addition to Sheriff’s deputies, netted 11 individuals who were cited for spectating at a cockfight, resisting or delaying peace officers, or possession of fight paraphernalia. About 40-50 people were in the crowd around the pit when officers pulled up, and most of them ran away.
The raid was the result of an anonymous tip and investigation by the Sheriff’s rural crimes detective, John McCarthy. Said to be a tournament, the fight had attracted participants from as far away as San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles counties, with bets of up to $12,000. The items recovered included the blades attached to the roosters’ legs, suture kits, and gambling paraphernalia. Cockfighting is an illegal activity throughout the U.S., according to the Humane Society. The Sheriff’s Office encourages citizens to contact the tip line, (805) 681-4171, or website, sbsheriff.org, to report such animal cruelty.