Florida Residents Fear Roosters Are Being Stolen for Illegal Cockfighting Ring

In Fort Lauderdale, some residents are worried that roosters that normally wander their neighborhood are being snatched and used for illegal cockfighting.

Cockfighting is a spectator sport that involves two or more birds being placed in an enclosed pit to fight. It usually results in the death of one or both birds.

"The first one he took I called Arnie," resident Lin Morgan told Local 10. "Quite sure he's dead by now or has been in a fight by now."

The sport is illegal in all 50 states and as of 2020, 42 states have passed felony cockfighting laws, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Another concern with the sport is its association with gambling as well as the distribution of illegal drugs, the Humane Society reported.

In 2017, more than 80 people were arrested in connection to a cockfighting ring in Detroit, Newsweek previously reported. Authorities found more than 100 birds at the site where the cockfight was being held.

Morgan said she once confronted a man who she said was attempting to take away one of the birds.

"'We'll be back to get your roosters and I don't care how old you are, we'll be back to get you as well,'" she recounted to the station. "And they threw water bottles at me."

Casey Liening, the public information specialist for the The Fort Lauderdale Police told Newsweek in an email that a neighbor has called the department twice this year reporting incidents related to the animals though the information provided did not constitute a crime and could not comment on the existence of cockfighting.

A cell phone video shown on the newscast showed what appears to be a man grabbing one of the birds.

"They let them fight for a little bit until they tire out, then they take them away," Morgan told the station.

Morgan said she and neighbors believe the roosters are being taken for an alleged cockfighting ring.

Cockfighting, Florida
Residents of a Fort Lauderdale neighborhood say they fear roosters are being taken to be used in illegal cockfighting. Here, roosters clash during a cockfight on December 4, 2011 in Koronadal, Philippines. Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images

"I know there is a cockfighting ring somewhere in this neighborhood," another neighbor said to the station.

Morgan said an officer she spoke with said it's possible that it's in her neighborhood.

In response, Morgan has begun posting flyers on her street asking for information on the alleged fighting. The flyer said the Humane Society will award up to $5,000 for any pertinent information.

In July, 30 people were arrested in Mayo, Florida after a months-long investigation into a cockfighting ring, Local 10 reported. Authorities uncovered three dead roosters and 41 live roosters that were being readied to fight.

Liening told Newsweek in an email that if anyone has detailed information regarding illegal activity, they encourage them to contact the department.