Cockfighting is a culture that takes place in the shadows of vacant buildings and warehouses. It’s commonly known as a blood sport. Roosters that are bred and raised for the sole purpose of aggression and fighting are outfitted with nail-like daggers and blades. Then, they’re placed into a small open ring to fight to the death. Cockfighting is more than 6,000 years old, and in the United States, it’s usually accompanied by the illegal sale of alcohol and drugs. Of course, betting is involved too.
Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Several law enforcement agencies and dozens of officers recently participated in a raid on a cockfight venue on March 17, 2018. It was located in De Queen, AR. Authorities allege that it was an organized operation, and the Associated Press reports that the fights changed locations every week. The investigation reportedly lasted for 18 months. Arrests included both felony and misdemeanor cockfighting violations. Some of those who were arrested were fighting cock owners, and others were spectators. About 200 cocks were taken into custody too. They’re in the same jail as some of the offenders and being cared for by some of the inmates at the Sevier County Jail.
Sheriff Robert Gentry said that the care taking inmates haven’t been charged with any cock fighting offenses. The humans that were charged were from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and as far away as New Jersey. The fighting cocks will be held in Sheriff Gentry’s custody until such time as a judge decides what to do with them.
Workers at neighboring business establishments said that the roosters were noisy. Sevier County Jail inmates are complaining about 4:00 a.m. wake up calls being earlier than usual. None of the fighting cocks are in the general jail population for fear of retaliation. Regardless of the fact that people bet on them, the fighting cocks remain unpaid. Not a single one out of the 200 has been able to post bail.