Cockfighting Raid Nabs 73 in NC

One rooster splattered blood on search warrant
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2009 12:39 PM CST
A man washes a winning rooster while the carcass of the losing bird lies in the trash, during a fight night at a cockfight arena in Barranquitas, central Puerto Rico, Nov. 11, 2006.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
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(Newser) – North Carolina police arrested 73 people in an unexpectedly huge cockfighting raid over the weekend, crashing a barbaric $40,000 tournament in which a combatant rooster bloodied the search warrant, the AP reports. “I had no idea it would be this large,” the sheriff said. “I've raided these things before, and you get 20 or 25 people, you've got a big crowd. I thought that this was unreal.”

About 20 birds were dead when police arrived at three chicken houses, which had been cleared to accommodate the ring and covert parking spaces for spectators. A fight was in progress, and a rooster leaped onto the betting table, spraying blood on the investigators’ warrant. All 73 people, who ranged in age from 16 to 79, were charged with cockfighting and cruelty to animals, both felonies.