FORT WORTH — Forty-one extremely aggressive roosters strut and bluster in cages at the Humane Society of North Texas in Fort Worth. It's one of the biggest seizures of fighting birds the agency has ever dealt with.
The Johnson County sheriff's office seized the birds Saturday night in a raid near Alvarado.
"They were getting ready to have a big fight," said Humane Society spokeswoman Shelly Meeks. She responded to the property in the rain and mud on Saturday night.
Only one man was arrested; Meeks said the fighting hadn't started yet.
"When we got down there, there were 30 birds in transport boxes staged for the fight," she said.
Most of the roosters have had their spurs cut off so knives could be attached to their feet. Meeks said deputies seized some of the knives.
Meeks said cockfighting is more common than most people know. She said the best fighting birds can be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.
"On the birds that are too weak to continue, if they're not already dead, the handlers will often drown them," Meeks noted.
Officials also seized 22 hens kept for breeding more aggressive roosters. Meeks collected their eggs, but said all the hens and roosters are probably too aggressive to be adopted out.
She said all Humane Society workers can do is to give the animals a better life until there's a custody hearing. She said they had been living in deplorable conditions, with little food or water.
"Even if they do have to be euthanized it's a much better way to go than the way they were intended by their breeders," Meeks said.