Cockfighting Raid in Eastern Washington Allegedly Tied to Prison Gang

At a news conference in Yakima, Washington, authorities announced that 34 individuals from across the country are facing conspiracy charges related to drugs, guns, money laundering, trying to kill witnesses, and cockfighting.

During a raid in Eastern Washington, the police, along with the help of Heartwood Haven, a Pierce County animal rescue group, seized about 60 birds that were allegedly used in illegal cockfighting operations. According to the authorities, the cockfighting ring was operated from in and out of the prison.

Kate Tsyrklevich of Heartwood Heaven in Roy stated, “Most people are not aware cockfighting even exists. It’s happening all the time. It’s a huge industry and is very prevalent across the whole state.”

“There were dozens and dozens of birds, some of them were running around,” Tsyrklevich said. “The most heartbreaking part is when there is an opportunity for these birds to be seized and placed into loving homes, but nobody is able to help. That’s even worse than what they’re faced with on a daily basis.”

Heartwood Haven returned to Roy in the evening, asking for help on social media. The group needs to find homes for the roosters and raise money to care for the birds in the meantime.

According to the group, the donations will be used for feed, housing, vetting for transport, health certificates, and enclosures needed to safely house the rescued roosters.