As if the cruelty of pitting of two roosters against each other in a heinous battle to the death wasn't enough to dissuade some people from supporting cockfighting, it turns out that during such events it's not just the lives of the birds put at risk. In a twist of irony, at one illegal cockfighting operation in California recently, a man involved in the bloodsport was stabbed to death by one of the razor blade-fitted gamecocks whose life he gambled on for entertainment.The incident, which took place near Bakersfield, California, occurred after law enforcement officers were informed of a suspected cockfighting operation that was underway. As of 2008, cockfighting has been banned throughout the United States; it is also against the law to be in attendance at such events in most states, as well.
As police raided the gathering, one of the participants, Jose Luis Ochoa, suffered a deep stab wound to his calve during the ensuing commotion as attendees attempted to flee the scene. A report from the Visalia Times-Delta offers details:
Deputies responded to a field on Avenue 24 near Road 128 after an anonymous caller stated that a group was gathering around a cockfight. When deputies arrived, the group quickly dispersed and Ochoa was caught in the chaos. Authorities said they didn't connect Ochoa's death until his family contacted them and informed them of what had happened.
Authorities said they found evidence of cockfighting, including live and dead roosters at the scene. Deputies contacted animal control to assist with the animals and collected items from the scene.
No suspects have been named at this time in regards to the cockfight, which is illegal in California. No one was arrested at the time deputies arrived.
According to court records obtained by The Guardian, the victim in this dog-bites-man story has a criminal record stemming from past animal abuses. Just last year, Ochoa was fined $370 for owning or training an animal for fighting in a blood sport that only ends with one or both birds either dead or otherwise incapacitated by injury; sharp blades are often attached to the gamecocks to facilitate this.
All life has value and any loss is rightfully mourned, including Ochoa's, but perhaps more tragic than this unfortunate death is the fact that such a cruel and inhumane practice still carries on now well into the 21st century.