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Birds seized in suspected cock-fighting investigation

Wednesday, 11th December, 2013 10:20am
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Birds seized in suspected cock-fighting investigation
Birds seized in suspected cock-fighting investigation

Police officers in the border region have seized a number of birds in Fermanagh as part of an ongoing investigation into illegal cockfighting.

The police operation into alleged animal cruelty took place at three locations, there were no arrests and police said enquiries are continuing.

At one of the properties, reports state that roosters had been bound by the leg to blue plastic barrels.

Subsequent veterinary examination of the birds found they were healthy and uninjured, although the combs on their heads had been removed.

The removal of the comb, or 'dubbing', is considered common practice in birds bred for fighting.

Cock fighting is the practice of throwing two birds in a ring and letting them fight until one of them dies. Such 'derbies' as they're called usually run between Easter and the end of July.

Cock fighting includes breeding the birds as well. Often times insulation tape is used to cover the bird's natural spurs on the sides of their legs in order to keep them sharp and dangerous before a fight. Sometimes, steel spurs can be attached to the natural spurs to make them even more lethal.

The seizure of birds comes less than a year after a lengthy investigation by agencies in the North into illegal cock-fights uncovered an illegal cock-fighting ring which operates at venues on both sides of the Irish border.

At one site, it was documented that about 60 people, some children, gathered around a makeshift ring in neighbouring Monaghan, near the border with Middletown in Armagh to witness on such cock-fight.

Police have said they are continuing to work in partnership with other agencies to investigate suspected fighting offences as well as incidents of animal cruelty.

Back in 2011, the discovery of abandoned and injured fighting cocks in the Dundalk area prompted animal cruelty inspectors in the south to believe there may be an illegal cock-fighting ring in the area.

Animal welfare officers were called on a number of occasions to discover injured birds abandoned on the sides of roads.

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