METHUEN, Mass. (WHDH/AP) – Animal welfare officials say most of the hundreds of roosters seized from a suspected illegal cockfighting site will have to be euthanized.
The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), which is housing the birds at its farm in Methuen, says the roosters are extremely aggressive and cannot be rehabilitated or retrained.
Northampton police seized about 400 birds from a farm in the city last Friday. About three-quarters of them are roosters bred for fighting. The MSPCA said they hope to save about 150 but the rest will have to be euthanized.
Officials said this is the largest cockfighting bust in MSPCA history.
“I’ve been here 24 years and seen several cases of cockfighting but never anything of this size. Four hundred is just astronomical,” said Mike Keiley, director of adoption centers and programs at the MSPCA-Nevins Farm.
Officials discovered signs of cockfighting during a barn inspection, including the birds, gloves used during fights and a bag of medication commonly used in cockfights. Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states.
“These birds are aggressive and must be housed separately to keep them from attacking each other,” said Keiley. “Cockfighting is an extremely cruel blood sport and we condemn the callous disregard for life shown by those responsible for raising these birds to fight.”
Keiley noted that most of the birds, prior to entering the ring, would have been fitted with sharp metal spurs designed to slash and kill their opponents.
The farm’s owner says he rented the space to another person and had never been inside.
There have been no arrests. The MSPCA is now looking to place about 45 chicks and 100 hens into safe environments.
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