According to sources, 64 roosters recently seized from an Eastern WA illegal cockfighting operation were shot by Deputies.

   Owner-operators of an animal refuge are seeking answers

According to FOX-13 TV Seattle, the owners of Heartwood Haven, an 8-year-old animal sanctuary that especially deals in fowl and other related animals, were set to receive 64 roosters seized from the Yakima County incident.

However, the owners said they got a call from a Federal agent saying instead the roosters were euthanized, and the method was not the usual kind. They apparently were shot.

The roosters came from the breakup of a large illegal cockfighting and crime ring based out of Outlook and Zillah in Yakima County. 34 people were ultimately arrested, and thousands of illegal narcotics, many weapons, cash, and more were taken. Authorities say the notorious La Nuestra Familia Gang was behind the operation. The bust happened in April.

98.3 KEYW logo
Get our free mobile app

The owners of Heartwood were told the roosters would not be coming, and instead had been shot. FOX-13 claims they were told the roosters were put down out of "time constraints."  A Public Information Officer told FOX-13 that Deputies had received another separate animal cruelty complaint, leading to the expedient euthanasia of the birds. FOX-13 said the PIO told them command officials were out of town and not available, and more specific answers would be forthcoming about the shooting.

According to FOX-13 and WA State officials, cockfighting operations are becoming a serious problem across the state, not just in Eastern WA. With these operations there are almost always drugs, illegal guns and crime--even prostitution. At any given time, said officials, there are an estimated 1,000 or more roosters being used for this purpose.

Officials say it's easy to spot roosters that have been groomed for the practice of fighting to the death. Certain body parts, including the plumage or combs on their head and waddle (the loose skin on the throat) and earlobes, are removed to give their opponent less places they can scratch and draw blood.

Sometimes the spur claw is removed from their foot and tiny knives are attached. Officials say to break up these rings, the cases take a long time and can be anywhere from many months to 1-3 years.

Animal rights activists and rescuers often try to house these fowl in sanctuaries because traditionally they are far more aggressive than usual roosters, largely because they've been 'trained' to fight to the death.

25 True Crime Locations: What Do They Look Like Today?

Below, find out where 25 of the most infamous crimes in history took place — and what the locations are used for today. (If they've been left standing.)


More From 98.3 KEYW