Scores of roosters rescued after deputies bust Kerman cockfighting ring

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Scores of roosters rescued after deputies bust Kerman cockfighting ring
Inside innocuous barn doors was blood sport and animal cruelty. Over 100 birds were rescued, but dozens of roosters were found dead.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Behind barn doors in Fresno County were nearly 100 roosters, all them taken from an alleged cockfighting ring in Kerman.

Investigators say the illegal underground blood sport took place at the barn.

"It was a big one," a deputy said.

It's an operation that deputies from the Fresno County Sheriff's Office arrived at just as two men were walking out.

"As soon as they noticed they were cops, they took off running," spokesman Tony Botti said. "The deputies got closer to the barn, and as soon as they got about 10 feet from the door, it popped open and close to a hundred people came running out going in different directions."

Inside was a pool-sized arena, countless cages and betting receipts from some of the people who showed up for the poultry show. There were also 25 dead birds, 10 that were injured and a total of 114 that were still alive.

It led authorities to arrest three men who were issued citations and charged with misdemeanors for being a spectator at an animal fight.

But it was suspect Thomas Crow who was arrested and booked into the Fresno County Jail. He was charged with a felony of cruelty to animals and two misdemeanors for having birds for the use of fighting.

Since the raid, Central California SPCA animal control officer Michael Wolcott has been removing the two to three-inch gaffs from the birds. He says it is difficult to see them in this condition.

"Because they are the ones that are suffering, and they are the going through this training which is actually just torture," he said.

It's torture the sheriff's office is working to end by shutting down more operations where people are committing cruelty to animals.