Skip to main content

Authorities seize 1,200 birds after raids on suspected cockfighting ring

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Around 1,200 birds were seized after police in western Wisconsin launched raids on a suspected cockfighting ring on Tuesday.

Sheriff's officials in Polk and St. Croix counties, along with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, seized the birds from four properties accused of running cockfighting rings, according to a news release from the ASPCA.

Several people have been detained and are expected to be arrested soon, as police found cockfighting paraphernalia at the properties, which included a fighting pitt and "gaffs" – spur-like equipment designed to inflict maximize damage during fights.

The ASPCA said that the raids uncovered roosters, hens and chicks "living in cages or makeshift enclosures, some without access to proper food or water."

It said that some appeared to have suffered recent injuries common associated with cockfight, and some had been altered by removing their comb (its head crest) and wattle (which hangs from its throat) – which is something commonly done to fighting birds.

"Cockfighters profit from and enjoy watching birds fight for their lives," Tim Rickey, vice president of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response, said. "Not only is cockfighting cruel, but it often brings other crimes to communities, such as illegal gambling and drug possession."

"We’re pleased to be in a position where we could step in and provide resources and expertise to assist local authorities in ending this violent criminal enterprise and holding the abusers accountable," he added.

It is the second major bust of a cockfighting ring in western Wisconsin this year.

In January, 19 people were arrested near Glenwood City, also in St. Croix County, after police found a suspected cockfighting enterprise in a dairy farm building.

The ASPCA said that conducting a cockfight and possessing birds for fighting are felonies punishable in Wisconsin by up to three-and-a-half years in prison, and a maximum fine of $10,000. Being a spectator is a misdemeanor offense.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 7.45.44 PM

Tyre Nichols: Initial police version of events bear similarities to George Floyd killing

Memphis PD said Nichols complained of 'shortness of breath' following 'confrontations' with police, who in reality violently beat him.

George Floyd, protest

Twin Cities authorities preparing for community reaction to Tyre Nichols video

The ATF division in St. Paul sent out an alert out of "an abundance of caution."

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 2.12.05 PM

Changes at K102's Chris Carr & Company, with Sam Sansevere joining as co-host

She is the daughter of former KQRS morning show personality Bob Sansevere.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 1.16.21 PM

Minneapolis' Royal Foundry Craft Spirits announces closure

The distillery set out to infuse the Minneapolis craft cocktail scene with British flavor.


Shutterfly to cut almost 100 jobs at Shakopee facility

The layoffs are expected to impact multiple positions within the company.


Mill City Museum in the running to be named best history museum in the U.S.

The museum offers scenic views of the Mississippi River.


Man charged with attempted murder of White Bear Lake police officer

Daniel Holmgren Jr., 33, was being served an arrest warrant at the time of the incident.


Gallery: 1,000-acre Wisconsin resort listed for nearly $4.3M

The lush landscape features a creek and private lake.

school bus

Alert after Woodbury students approached by strangers asking if they want candy

Valley Crossing Elementary School urged parents to go over safety information with their children in response to the incident.

basketball unsplash stock

North St. Paul basketball cancels Eden Prairie game after opposing coach's reinstatement

Head Coach Cornelius Gilleylen said he let his players decide amongst themselves.