One man arrested as state Gambling officials break up alleged cockfighting ring in Rochester

Staff writerApril 21, 2014 

UPDATE: Washington State Gambling Commission officers arrested one man Monday night after serving warrants to break up a suspected cockfighting ring in Rochester.

The man was arrested on suspicion of professional gambling and animal fighting. He will appear in Thurston County Superior Court Tuesday for his first appearance.

Thurston County Animal Services Director Susanne Beauregard said her shelter is housing a number of the roosters that were seized in Rochester Monday. However, she declined to say how many roosters she is housing, because she said it would be inappropriate for her to comment on the Gambling Commission's investigation.

Gambling Commission spokeswoman Susan Newer said Tuesday that 250 to 300 birds were seized Monday when officers served the warrants at a Rochester address Monday. Most of those birds have been euthanized, she said. Five to six bodies are being kept for evidence, she said.

PREVIOUS STORY: The Thurston County Sheriff's Office assisted the Washington State Gambling Commission with a cockfighting investigation in Rochester Monday, Sheriff's Lt. Greg Elwin said.

Officials with the gambling commission could not be reached for comment Monday. Elwin said that sheriff's deputies assisted the gambling commission as they served search warrants in Rochester on Monday.

Elwin emphasized that the sheriff's office is not investigating the case and was only accompanying the gambling commission to provide them with whatever support they needed.

A source told The Olympian that it's possible there could be multiple arrests Monday night in connection with the case.

In cockfighting, people place bets as two roosters fight to the death, and the birds usually have razors attached to their legs, according to the The Humane Society's website.

In Washington, cockfighting is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

 

 

 

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445; jpawloski@theolympian.com

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