Yakima County Sheriff’s Office in Washington, US Euthanizes 64 Roosters

In Washington, US, the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) euthanized around 64 roosters that were initially set to go to an animal rescue in Pierce County.

According to the YCSO, the roosters were bred for cockfighting and were originally discovered during a multi-agency drug bust of the prison gang La Nuestra Familia.

The deputies and animal control staff in YCSO were called to the area by a concerned resident nearby after seeing neglected horses on the property.

Public Information Officer Casey Schilperoort said, “We were there to investigate a crime of animal cruelty when regarding the horses.” He added that once the deputies found the roosters on the property, they had to do something. “Because it’s illegal, people can’t have them, they can own them, they can’t house them, they can’t take care of them,” he said. 

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms or ATF had been working on a warrant to seize the birds and have them rehomed with the help of animal rescue Heartwood Haven, he said. However, ATF was not available on that day.

Kate Tsyrklevich, Executive Director of Heartwood Haven said she was in a conference call with ATF and YCSO a week before the birds were shot.  

“Heartwood Haven is always willing to work with law enforcement,” Tsyrklevich said. “We consistently work with law enforcement and different agencies across Washington and even outside of Washington to bring positive outcomes to situations like this.” 

She mentioned that in this case, every rooster had a potential home already set up and was waiting for a call to come get them. “Our rescue was working with the sheriff’s office starting from the first raid on April 19 and throughout,” she said. “And the sheriff’s office was aware that we had homes for the roosters, we had a placement for all of them, and that we were ready to take them at any time.” 

Schilperoort stated that deputies didn’t have time to wait for the animal rescue organization located three to four hours outside of Yakima to come help.

“There are plenty of critics out there that says maybe you should have done this or maybe you should have done that,” Schilperoort said. “But we use the information at the time to make the decisions that were best for our county and for our people and for our resources.” 

According to Schilperoort, four staffed deputies and two animal control officers needed to be available for the average of 175 calls a day that the sheriff’s office receives. “We would have done we would have rescued these animals if there was an animal rescue that was much closer and it would have taken a lot less time and a lot less resources,” Schilperoort said.   

“If the community sees that if they call in animal cruelty to the animal control and their response is to go and shoot animals,” Tsyrklevich said, worried about the future of animal cruelty calls. “I think that it’s going to make people think twice about whether they should call the sheriff’s office to report animal cruelty.” 

“While this outcome is not what any of us wanted, we did everything in a very professional manner and to the best of our ability, given the circumstances at the time. This was as frustrating for those of us involved in this situation as it was for those who wished to rescue these roosters,’ said the YCSO in an additional statement after being interviewed.