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Cockfighting is target of San Diego County officials

Roosters fighting in Compton.

In an effort to deter the illegal sport of cockfighting, San Diego County officials are moving to limit the number of roosters that can be kept on a parcel of property.

More than 100 persons in the county have been arrested for cockfighting in the past decade, and thousands of injured birds have been euthanized, officials said. Raising birds for fighting is a misdemeanor in California.

By 4-1, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors this week endorsed a limit on roosters to one on a half-acre parcel, four on an acre-parcel, six on a parcel between one and five acres, and 20 on a parcel of more than 20 acres. The restrictions are in addition to zoning laws that ban farm animals in many residential areas.

The ordinance, sponsored by Supervisor Dianne Jacob, also requires humane treatment for roosters, including access to water and shade, "and sufficient room to spread both wings fully and to be able to turn in a complete circle."

The new rules do not restrict commercial poultry ranches and school projects such as Future Farmers of America and 4-H.

The restrictions, once final adoption occurs -- which is expected in September -- will apply to the unincorporated areas of the county, particularly rural areas where cockfighting arrests have taken place.

The supervisors have also asked the cities of Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Diego, Santee and Solana Beach -- which contract with the county Department of Animal Services -- to adopt similar ordinances.


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--Tony Perry

Photo: Roosters fighting in Compton. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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