An alleged cockfighting ring in Atoka County, Oklahoma, is currently under investigation after a non-profit by the name of SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) reported the operation to the Atoka Sheriff’s Office. Steve Hindi, president of SHARK, received an anonymous tip regarding the illegal cockfighting operation. Hindi flew from Illinois to Oklahoma to take a further look at the alleged cockfighting ring located off Highway 43, near Stringtown.
In the United States, cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In Oklahoma, it is a felony to instigate or encourage cockfighting and if convicted, one could face up to ten years of jail.
Steve Hindi said, “(Cockfighting) absolutely a social disease, and all the criminal activity that’s attached to it. Once we saw the trailers, we were pretty sure it was cockfighting property, what they do is they have trailers on the property, a lot of them, these act as cock houses.” Hindi reported the information to the Sheriff’s Office.
Atoka County Deputy Kevin Anderson also went to the property after Hindi alerted the authorities. In Deputy Anderson’s report, he said, “I began to search the property for signs that one might associate with a cock fight. During my observation, there were no loose feathers or deceased chickens visible…”
Hindi also uploaded a YouTube video, accusing the Sheriff or deputies of tipping off the cockfighters in the illegal operation. Hindi added, “The Atoka County Sheriff’s department has chosen to partner with the criminals and is working to stop the people who are trying to see the law is enforced.”
The Atoka County Sheriff Tony Head denied the allegation. “Them accusing us to make phone calls or to be playing the buddy system, to not be able to arrest these folks is totally false,” Sheriff Head said. “They claim I’m Facebook friends with both parties involved, which I am. This is a small county. I was friends with these individuals way before I even became law enforcement. It doesn’t mean I am going to discredit myself.”
The owner of the property located off Hwy 43 was identified as tribal. Deputy Anderson followed up in his report, “I passed all of the information I had gathered over to the Choctaw Nation Tribal Police for them to continue with the prosecution process.”
The tribal police and the alleged cockfighters have not yet responded to any of the reports.