Authorities cited 30 people in a weekend raid on a suspected rooster fight in Sunset, one of the centers of cockfighting in Louisiana before the practice was made illegal in 2008.
Sunset police received an anonymous tip at 4 p.m. Saturday and descended on a makeshift cock pit in the back of a pasture off Pershing Highway about 30 minutes later with St. Landry Parish sheriff’s deputies, Sunset Police Chief Alexcie Guillory said.
Several suspects tried to flee, Guillory said, but he told them he “had the road blocked and nobody can go anywhere.”
He said 22 adults and 8 juveniles were issued summons for the misdemeanor charge of participation in cockfighting.
The site of Saturday’s fight was near a once-legal cockfighting establishment on Pershing Highway, Guillory said.
The investigation is continuing to determine who owns the property where Saturday’s fight was held and whether the person was involved, Guillory said.
Police had investigated another tip about a cockfight in the same general area last year, but there was only one person present and no cockfight when officers arrived, Guillory said.
St. Landry Parish Animal Control confiscated seven live roosters and one dead rooster from the scene of Saturday’s fight, Supervisor Patricia Guillory said.
The live roosters will be euthanized because the animals are too aggressive to be kept under normal conditions, Guillory said. “They have to be kept separate from everything else,” she said.
The state Legislature approved the cockfighting ban in 2007 but its effective date was delayed. The legislation gave operators 13 months to phase out operations.
Cockfights pit two roosters against each other, blades attached to their legs, in a fight to the death.
Lawmakers in 2007 made gambling at cockfights illegal, one of the main appeals of the contests. That rule took effect Aug. 15, 2007.
The law that went into effect Aug. 15, 2008, makes it illegal to organize or conduct a commercial or private cockfight where chickens are supposed to fight.
It also makes training or selling chickens to fight illegal.
Penalties range from fines of up to $1,000 and six months in jail for a first offense to $2,000 and three years in jail for a third offense.
Louisiana became the last state to ban cockfighting following New Mexico.