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29
May

Hundreds of Fighting Roosters Surrendered to MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Historic Cock Fighting Bust

Organization Rescues Nearly 400 Birds from Barbaric and Illegal Fighting Ring in Western Massachusetts

BOSTON and Methuen, Mass., May 29, 2018 – The MSPCA-Nevins Farm last week received close to 400 hundred fighting birds from a Northampton, Mass. property after local police secured a warrant to raid the buildings located at the Ravenwold Greenouses, 1095 Florence Road in Northampton, Mass.

The vast majority of the birds—save for about 100 hens—are roosters purposefully bred for cockfighting, a vicious sport in which the birds are placed beak to beak in a small ring and encouraged to fight to the death.  Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states but persists in isolated, underground pockets, including here in Massachusetts.

Mike Keiley, director of adoption centers and programs at the MSPCA-Nevins Farm, along with his teams, worked through the night prior to the Memorial Day weekend to settle the birds onto the farm, where they are under lock and key in the on-site barn, monitored daily by the Methuen police dept.

“These birds are aggressive and must be housed separately to keep them from attacking each other,” he said.  “Cockfighting is an extremely cruel blood sport and we condemn the callous disregard for life shown by those responsible for raising these birds to fight.”  Keiley noted that most of the birds, prior to entering the ring, would have been fitted with sharp metal spurs designed to slash and kill their opponents.

“The kindest thing we can do for the vast majority of these birds is to humanely euthanize them,” Keiley said.  “The roosters cannot be rehabilitated—all we can do now is spare them the brutal and bloody fate that awaits them in the ring.”

Nevins Farm Barn Temporarily Closed to Public

Nevins Farm has taken the rare step of closing public access to the barn while the birds are housed inside.  Keiley expects it to re-open by the end of the week—and adoptions for all other barn animals have not been impacted.

Keiley said the staff will do everything possible to rear upwards of 45 rooster chicks who—though bred for fighting—may be adoptable in the months ahead, and about 100 hens will likely be placed in sanctuaries or responsible homes as soon as their medical and behavior checks are completed.

Massive, Back to Back Surrenders
The arrival of the fighting birds comes on the heels of another large surrender including 39 quail, 13 pheasants and four geese from a home in the greater Merrimack Valley area on May 21.  “Our bird population soared from about two dozen to well over 400 in the span of 48 hours,” said Keiley, who said the staff and volunteers worked day and night to cope with the mass arrivals.

Several organizations assisted in the removal of the birds, and with equipment and staff including the New Hampshire SPCA , St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, the Dakin Human Society, Animal Rescue League of Bedford, New Hampshire and Lowell Humane Society.

Keiley is grateful for the support of the animal welfare community during one of the most stressful transport efforts in recent memory.  “We couldn’t have done this alone and I extend my thanks to every organization and individual who lent us their trucks and cages as well as their time and emotional support,” he said.

“And I’m especially grateful to our own staff and volunteers, who logged countless hours safely transporting the birds to our shelter and ensuring we made them as comfortable as possible,” he added.

The birds had been housed in several greenhouse-like outbuildings on the Northampton property.  For more information about the investigation, readers should contact the Northampton Police Dept. directly.

 

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