County curbs cockfighting with rooster-limit ordinance

Alleged cockfighting operation in Val Verde. photo courtesy of LASD.
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A county motion drafted in response to the largest seizure of illegal cockfighting birds in the history of the United States last year — a bust that happened in Val Verde — was endorsed by county supervisors, limiting the number of roosters kept on a single property.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance to limit the keeping of roosters in an effort to curb the problems associated with illegal cockfighting.

Representatives of more than a half-dozen animal rights groups and others voicing support for the measure cited many problems associated with cockfighting, including the spread of disease related to poultry — specifically, Newcastle Disease — noise, the proliferation of drugs and firearms, illegal use of utility power and prostitution.

The ordinance amends the existing animals section of the Los Angeles County Code. It seeks to curb the raising of roosters for cockfighting and, in the process, protect the health and safety of county residents.

The ordinance was applauded by many, including those with the county’s Department of Animal Care and Control.

Department Director Marcia Mayeda said, in a written statement: “We are so pleased that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have taken this important step to protect animal welfare and public safety, and that animals of Los Angeles County will be safer as a result of this ordinance.”

The ordinance goes into effect within the next 30 days, with county staffers wasting no time acting on it.

Between Oct. 25 and Dec. 31, officials with the Department of Animal Care and Control are expected to work with rooster owners to bring them into compliance with the ordinance’s requirements through education and outreach efforts.

Complaints regarding noise, unsanitary conditions and animal abuse or neglect, however, will be acted on immediately, said department spokeswoman Don Belton.

Beginning in the new year, department officials are expected to begin enforcing the rooster limits.

In the May 15 Val Verde incident, more than 7,800 cockfighting birds were found at a suspected cockfighting operation, which was located at an 80-acre lot on the 29000 block of Jackson Street in Val Verde, where the raid took place.

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