SILVER SPRINGS - A Lyon County man could face charges for keeping and promoting cockfighting at his Mark Twain property.
Lyon County Animal Control Officer Ted Bolzle said a search warrant served Wednesday at 40 Wells Fargo Drive found a dozen fighting roosters, a homemade ring in the back yard and other evidence to support information that the home was known for cockfighting. Bolzle said the roosters had their combs cut off, which is common in the cockfighting world, but they were not outfitted with blades on their legs, which is another common practice. The birds were taken to the animal shelter.
"I feel sure there are fights going on throughout the county, but this is such a close-knit group that it's hard to get information," Bolzle said.
According to Nevada law, instigating or witnessing fights between birds is a gross misdemeanor offense. The third offense is a felony. Bolzle said the case will be forwarded to the district attorney's office for review. Bolzle said a video tape shows the coming and goings at the home and could help investigators determine who else could be charged.
According to the Humane Society, cockfighting is a centuries-old blood sport in which two or more specially bred birds, known as gamecocks, are placed in an enclosure to fight for the primary purposes of gambling and entertainment. A cockfight usually results in the death of one of the birds and sometime ends in the death of both. A typical cockfight can last anywhere from several minutes to more than half an hour.
The birds suffer in cockfights. They cannot escape from the fight, regardless of how exhausted or injured they become. Common injuries include punctured lungs, broken bones, and pierced eyes. Such severe injuries occur because the birds' legs are usually fitted with razor-sharp steel blades or with gaffs, which resemble three-inch-long, curved ice picks. These artificial spurs are designed to puncture and mutilate.
The Humane Society offers a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person who organizes, participates in, promotes, or officiates at cockfights or dogfights.
Bolzle asks anyone with information on the Mark Twain cockfighting or other crimes involving animals to call Animal Control at 577-5005.
-- Contact reporter F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.