Phoenix Police team up with Arizona Humane Society to stop illegal cockfighting

PHOENIX - Phoenix police are teaming up with the Arizona Humane Society to stop illegal cockfighting. It's a problem that police say is happening more than we think in the Valley.

In the past two months, police say they stopped three separate cockfighting incidents.

In March, police were called out to a home near 67th Ave and Van Buren Street. There were reports of shots fired. When they arrived, they found about a dozen people who started running away. Police say they discovered nearly 100 live and dead roosters and obvious signs of cockfighting. Police confiscated items that are typically used to alter fighter birds.

The Arizona Humane Society says it's common for gaffs and blades to be attached to roosters' feet so that they can slice each other during fights. AHS had several boxes of these items that had been confiscated from different illegal cockfighting operations. 

Three people were arrested and issued citations for the March incident. The homeowner, who was not there, could also face charges.

In February, police say they stopped a cockfighting event in progress at an apartment complex near 40th Avenue and Van Buren Street. Police say more than a dozen roosters were found in this incident. According to police, there was a crowd of people cheering and throwing a party. 

One person was arrested in this incident and faces felony charges for animal cruelty and gambling, according to James Holmes with Phoenix Police. Police say they also found a drug-filled syringe with the person who rented the apartment. 

The Arizona Humane Society says drugs are often injected into cockfighting birds months in advance to get them prepared for a fight. Some of these drugs could cause the birds to bulk up or become more aggressive.

Details on the third incident were not released.

Police say they typically see an increase in cockfighting this time of year. They're asking the public to report suspicious activity.

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