Douglas Price, 39, a farmer from Bradford, was arrested by officers from the West Yorkshire Police. The authorities, along with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), found 22 hens and cockerels on his land with fighting injuries, feather loss, and without food or water.
The Bradford Crown Court found Price guilty of charges including causing unnecessary suffering to animals. Price was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and restricted from keeping the roosters.
Officers also seized Price’s phone which contained footage that indicated Price was keeping and training the birds to fight. The birds had feathers missing from their chests, damaged legs, and showed signs of malnourishment. Some of the cockerel’s combs were also missing.
A vet found that a total of 14 hens and cockerels were in a state of neglect and some had been caused unnecessary suffering. One dead cockerel was found at the farm and three birds were destroyed on the vet’s advice.
“The person responsible for these birds has an unhealthy interest in cockfighting,” said an RSPCA spokesman.
RSPCA special operations unit chief inspector Ian Muttitt said, “I have investigated cockfighting offenses for a number of years and reviewed hours of footage relating to this crime and it was very clear to me that several sequences of the footage obtained from Price’s mobile phone depicted cockfight sparring sessions.”
Price was found guilty of two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to protected animals, one count of failing to ensure the needs of animals were met, and one count of keeping or training animals for use in connection with an animal fight.
He was also sentenced to 20 rehabilitation activity days, 100 hours of unpaid work, and ordered to pay a 156 GBP victim surcharge and 400 GBP in costs. He was also banned from keeping hens and cockerels for 12 months, according to the RSPCA.