Cockfighting investigation continues - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Cockfighting investigation continues

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By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - For years cockfighting was legal sport here at the Little Bayou Club in Sulphur, but as of August 15, 2008 all bets were off the table as the Louisiana Legislature was the last to outlaw cockfighting.

"The cockfighters were given almost a year to get rid of their birds or do whatever they had to do because cockfighting is now illegal, obviously maybe these people didn't get the message," said Diana Morales with Calcasieu Animal Services.  

More than 30 state troopers raided the property catching 250 people in the act, seizing nearly 60-thousand dollars and issuing 36 misdemeanor arrest charges: including 2 charges for illegal gambling or wagering at cockfights, 12 charges of cockfighting and another 23 charges of contributing to the delinquency of juveniles.

So far no names have been released, but authorities are questioning three people believed to be the ringleaders, who could face felony charges. 

But it was Calcasieu Animal Services and the U.S. Humane Society who were left to deal with the more than 600 roosters left behind. Most injured and the countless number of birds who didn't survive the battle in the pit. 

"Knowing it's illegal... The neighbors have been complaining here for months and months that this was going on. That was the strongest part to me, that this was just so open and they didn't have a problem with putting up a sign at the road, collecting admission at the door this is a large operation with a lot of people involved. They were collecting 10 dollars at the door," explained Morales.  

The property is now taped off, the gates now locked. It appears no one is on site, but neighbors say the day of the raid people were running all over Willow Springs Road trying to get away from the law.

"Well when I got up and came outside there was about 50 people running down the road through the woods and down the street and they caught one guy here. They had some guys pinning him down and they caught him here, and the state police troopers came and arrested him right there," said neighbor Austin Jourdan, Jr. 

Jourdan grew up on Willow Springs Road and says they've been fighting birds there for more than thirty years. 

"After it got illegal, they just kept going," said Jordan. "We would see cars there every Saturday and Sunday all day long."

Jourdan is also the pastor of a church that sits across the street from the Little Bayou Club and prays the recent raid will rid their neighborhood of cockfighting and all the crime that goes along with it.

"Drugs and whatever else goes on there. You look at crime and crime brings all kinds of things but we're glad that it's shut down. Maybe we can rest at night now," said Jourdan. 

Meanwhile State Police say the Little Bayou Club will remain off limits until they decide whether to seize the property or not.

Calcasieu Animal Services collected a total of 649 roosters. They will be held for 15 days then euthanized, unless some comes to claim them. Officials say they have received several calls from people saying the birds are theirs but no one has showed up to pick any of them up.  

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