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104 Fighting Roosters Seized from Van Zandt County Cockfight
State Jail Felony Arrests Made


(VAN ZANDT COUNTY, TX; DALLAS, TX); July 1, 2019 – Yesterday, June 30, 2019, the SPCA of Texas, the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office, Van Zandt Precinct 2 Constable's Office, Department of Public Safety and Texas Game Wardens raided a cockfight in progress at a property in Van Zandt County, Texas. The SPCA of Texas seized and took custody of 104 fighting roosters.

Approximately 200 attendees were present, most fled the scene once law enforcement arrived. The Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office arrested three individuals on state jail felony charges of "causes a cock to fight with another cock" and "participates in the earnings of a cockfight," and issued 22 individuals citations for attending a cockfight as a spectator, which is a Class C misdemeanor.

Many of the birds appear to be suffering from open wounds, cuts and scrapes, missing feathers and eye issues. One rooster was humanely euthanized at the recommendation of an SPCA of Texas veterinarian due to the severity of his wounds.

The roosters were transported to the SPCA of Texas' Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center, where they received immediate medical care from veterinary staff and will be cared for until a custody hearing takes place. The custody hearing will take place on Wednesday, July 10 at 10:30 a.m. at the Van Zandt County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2 Courthouse located at 250 E. Grove St., Suite 102, Canton, TX, 75103, the Honorable Sandra Plaster presiding.

To view and download photos and video of the birds, taken at the property and at the Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center, please click on the following link or copy and paste it into a browser:

On June 30, 2019, a search warrant was obtained for the suspected cockfighting property, and the Texas Game Warden contacted the SPCA of Texas to gather evidence and take custody of the birds. The property held a large, octagon ring, built out of plywood, along with concession stands, indicating the property had been regularly used for the purpose of cockfighting.

Investigators also found cockfighting paraphernalia, including short knives known as "slashers," heeling kits, leather straps and mole skin. Most of the roosters were found in transport boxes and cages, with several being confined to drop pens. Many roosters still had short knives attached to their legs.

Cockfighting is a crime in all 50 states, including Texas, where it is a felony, punishable by up to two years in a state jail and/or up to a $10,000 fine, to cause birds to fight with one another and/or to use property for the purpose of cockfighting. In Texas, it is a Class A misdemeanor to possess, manufacture or sell cockfighting paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor to own or train a rooster with the intent to fight the bird and a Class C misdemeanor to be a spectator at a cockfight. Federal law also prohibits any interstate or foreign transport of fighting animals.

To help support the SPCA of Texas and its efforts to help abused, neglected and homeless animals and to support the SPCA of Texas' other programs and services, please visit To learn more about the SPCA of Texas, please visit our website at


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"I'm absolutely in LOVE with Kitty (formerly Kaleigh). I know her name isn't original at all but I just started calling her that until I could think of a name and it just stuck - it's so her! I've attached two photos - she's seriously the most beautiful kitty in the world! She loves to steal tennis balls and bones from her dog sister - she thinks she's a dog! She enjoys going for walks and car rides, snuggling with mom, bird watching, drinking from the sink, playing with her pipe cleaners and getting into mom's makeup in the mornings. I couldn't 'imagine life without her. She's the absolute best!"

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