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Fighting references to roosters just a brag, man says

The Snohomish man is charged with breeding, training and selling fighting roosters on his property.

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By Diana Hefley
Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — A Snohomish man told detectives his Web site advertising fighting roosters was only a status symbol and he never actually used the game fowl for bloodsport.
Prosecutors on Wednesday charged Francisco Carranza, 47, with felony animal fighting. Carranza is accused of breeding, training and selling fighting roosters from his Snohomish property, Pilchuck Game Farm, located near U.S. 2.
Investigators in June found nearly 100 roosters, hens and chicks in deplorable conditions, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Edirin Okoloko wrote. Officials euthanized the birds.
They believe the majority of the fowl were being raised and trained to slash each other to death in fighting pits.
Snohomish County sheriff’s detective Larry Cole first received a tip in late 2007 from Inga Gibson, Washington’s director of the Humane Society of the U.S. Gibson led Cole to a Web site that appeared to be advertising fighting fowl for sale, Okoloko wrote.
Cole located the Web site and discovered numerous pictures of roosters. The birds were described using cockfighting slang, investigators said.
One rooster was described as a “pure bacon warhorse,” another was said to be “always ready to fight,” and a third was advertised as being a one-time winner in a short knife fight, court papers said.
One style of fighting is to strap sharp blades to the roosters’ legs, Okoloko wrote. The birds slice each other to death.
Cole began watching the home and saw several chickens roaming the property while others were tethered or housed in wooden structures. The detective’s view was limited by a 6-foot tall fence surrounding the property.
Sheriff’s deputies and Snohomish County Animal Control officers raided the farm in June. They found 92 live chickens. A veterinarian accompanied investigators and noted that many roosters were without shelter, food or water. There also were numerous dead birds that appeared to have been trampled by other fowl, Okoloko wrote.
The veterinarian discovered that roosters tethered to wooden posts had the spurs on their legs broken or altered. The spurs often are removed to accommodate the blades strapped to the roosters legs, the veterinarian said.
Carranza told investigators that he only raises the birds for breeding purposes. He later said that he recently engaged one of his roosters in sparring, Okoloko wrote.
Sparring is training for the birds and is typically done in the weeks leading up to a fight. The birds aren’t allowed to hurt each other if possible. The training rounds help the owners determine what kind of fighter a rooster is likely to be inside the ring.
Once the training is complete, it’s impossible to integrate the birds back into the domestic population, Gibson told The Herald in June.
Carranza allegedly told investigators he never participated in any actual fights, court papers said. He said he made up the Web site to gain social status for himself.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463;
Story tags » Crime, Law & JusticeCrime

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