Cherokee County cockfighting ring broken up, arrests pending

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Published: May. 25, 2022 at 4:57 PM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2022 at 6:28 PM CDT
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CHEROKEE COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - A large cockfight was raided in East Texas over the weekend, with some unexpected guests in attendance.

Saturday night, the Alto Police Department and Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office responded to a cockfight taking place on County Road 2638. They identified about 50 people, took names, and say they will make arrests soon. They also seized 97 roosters, nine trailers, and a truck from the property.

The Cherokee County sheriff says people who take part in cockfighting come from all backgrounds and walks of life, even some who are in high profile positions.

“There’s a lot of people involved in this that you wouldn’t think about,” Cherokee County Sheriff Brent Dickson said.

Dickson says that the typical person in attendance at these cockfights are well-off individuals.

He says that people involved with these fights could potentially walk away with $50,000 in their pocket ... profit from illegal gambling.

“There’s a large cash flow through these operations,” Dickson said. “I believe this one they were charging $1,000 for six birds, and everybody pays that to get in to fight their birds, so that makes a pretty good purse at the end of the night.”

According to Dickson, those in attendance typically breed their own roosters to fight, unless they are there to place bets.

He says these cockfighting rings seem to be getting more common, and they are actively working to locate them and making arrests.

“For us, it’s bringing a lot of unwanted people into our county,” Dickson said. “We don’t need any extra drugs, guns or violence here, we’ve got our own. We don’t need to bring it in from outside.”

Under Texas law, cockfighting is a misdemeanor of varying severity, punishable by fines and jail time depending on circumstances. Even attending a cockfight is a misdemeanor.

Dickson reiterates that these cockfights are not good for the community.

“It’s cruelty to animals what they’re doing, and then you add drugs, gambling and everything else on top of it, it’s just not a good environment.”

The sheriff’s office is working with some outside resources to get the roosters tested, and hope to get them to an animal rescue to be re-homed.

Arrests are planned to be made within the next week.

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