Largest cockfighting ring discovered, 1,200 birds euthanized
SPCA officials scorned Canada's animal cruelty laws
after euthanizing approx. 1,270 birds seized in the largest cockfighting ring
ever discovered in the country.
The Criminal Code provisions against animal cruelty are "ridiculous", said
Marcie Moriarty, the association's general manager for cruelty investigations,
after SPCA officers and RCMP raided three separate properties in the rural area
of Cloverdale, southeast of Vancouver.
The investigation began in April 2006 after the SPCA received a tip. "These
people go (to the fights) by invitation only," said RCMP Const. Annie Linteau.
"It's difficult to infiltrate." While she said charges would be recommended
against as many as 30 people, charges were pending against only one 58-year-old
man while their probe continued.
The maximum penalty is six months or a $2,000 fine and a two-year ban on
owning animals, said Moriarty.
For the birds to be seized, the legislation requires fighting cocks be
found on properties that contain fighting pits. On the third property, 50 cocks
were found but no pit, so officers could not take the animals.
Authorities found five fighting pits, fighting birds tethered to barrels
and a wide range of paraphernalia associated with cockfighting on the other two
properties, according to SPCA animal protection officer Shawn Eccles.
The evidence included spurs or gaffs that are used to slash opponents,
scorecards to record wins and losses, needles and medications used on injured
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