Cockfighting arena raided - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cockfighting arena raided

April 18, 2006
by Brent Solomon

Tift County -- Twenty-one people people were arrested after investigators caught them fighting dozens of roosters, just outside Omega. Nine of the birds were killed in the violent fights, two others so badly injured they were euthanized.

It's the aftermath of a violent cockfighting match - elaborately structured and organized to bring in big bucks. But the show came to a halt when police made a bust and arrested spectators on the scene.

Blood, feathers, and an arena to fight in. Evidence the activity taking place here is anything but legal. "I went into the barn. There was a dead chicken in there and one flopping around and I guess they were going to put him in there to finish the other one off," said Animal Control Director Regenia Wells.

It was a match intended for amusement and of course profit. Organizers had it strategically planned. Spectators could come through this gate, pay their money here, and then join in on the match.

Investigators say Juan Ortiz Salina admitted organizing the cockfight on 72 year old Marcus Webb's property. Webb says he knew nothing about it. His house - just feet from the barn where the fights occured.

Police say organizers made it comfortable for those in attendence, providing beer, music, and a table with refreshments at the gate. They recovered $3,400, a handgun, and that's not all.

"All of the paraphanalia on the spurs were out there and I tried to cut one off of the dead chicken and I couldn't get it off,"Wells said. "We had a knife trying to get it off. It's like a pad wrapped with some tape, then the spur is put on which is this long and it's sharper than a razor blade."

It was just enough to bring justice to those breaking the law and safety to roosters caught in the middle of a gory form of entertainment. "Gorgeous birds, but they've been trained to fight," said Wells.

All 21 of the men arrested are charged with aggravated cruelty to animals. An offense involving up to 5 years in prison or a fine of $5,000 to $15,000. Police say some of those arrested have been released on a two-thousand dollar bond. 

 Originally, the Animal Control Department thought it would have to euthanize all the roosters. But today, a Superior Court Judge granted an order for the animals to be taken to a place where other abused animals have a chance to re-gain a normal living environment.

Arrested

Age

Bejamin Vasquez

44

Rania Padilla-Hernandez

21

Jose Hernandez-Robles

21

Inosencia Alvarado

39

Mario Chavez

30

Jaun Ortiz Saleno

28

Marcus Webb

72

Roberto Padilla

42

Nazaro Padilla

48

Enrique Ortega

18

Jose Eduardo Padilla

22

Eulogia Prudente Torres

29

Joel Hernandez

27

Luis Hernandez

49

Percialiano Calvill

19

Antonio Mendez

28

Hugo Enrique

25

Florencio Hernandez

23

Javier Torres

26

Marros Robles

25

Delfino Rodriguez

51

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