A local man has been arrested on a host of charges after the Kings County Sheriff’s Department broke up a cockfighting operation on his property.
Santiago Gonzalez, 34, was arrested and faces charges of 36 counts of animal cruelty, 18 counts of unlawful possession of gaffs or slashers, one count of owning fighting birds and one count of permitting cockfighting on his property. He was booked into the Kings County Jail in Hanford with bail set at $1 million.
Deputies responded to the Gonzalez property in the 23600 block of Ninth Ave. after receiving a report of an illegal rooster fight. According to the sheriff’s department, dozens of people fled the scene when law enforcement arrived. They detained Gonzalez for questioning and found a cockfighting ring in a structure behind his house.
According to Kings County Animal Control, dozens of birds were located in a building covered by a tarp; at least 20 were dead and others had been injured.
Many still had gaffs attached to their legs and some attempted to attack animal control officers who were attempting to capture them. Since the birds are a result of many years of breeding for aggressiveness, most cannot be placed in new homes for safety reasons.
Animal control had to euthanize about 60 of the birds.
Other hens and roosters on the property were left in the care of other residents of the home. Animal control officers are scheduled to return to assess the living conditions of those birds.
This is the second time in a year a local cockfighting ring has been uncovered in the Corcoran area. In April of last year, a warrant was served in the 23000 block of 5 ½ Ave., with officers seizing over 100 hens and roosters.