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Fowl Play: 450 Roosters Seized as LASPCA Discovers Cockfighting Operation

Updated 10 p.m.

New Orleanians have become accustomed to living with chickens, but not the kind that Trinh Tran had at his New Orleans East home. Authorities seized more than 500 roosters and other birds bred for cockfighting on Wednesday in an action that the Louisiana SPCA is calling the largest single action in its 125 year history.


When authorities arrived on the scene to raid the home, they found 450 birds housed on the property in the 14000 block of Chef Menteur Highway. More than 100 other birds were running free. Needles and steroids for the roosters, as well as other cockfighting materials, were also found.  


Tran, 47, was arrested by NOPD after a search warrant was executed. He was booked on felony animal cruelty charges, and cockfighting, as well as a misdemeanor count of exotic animal possession.


Cockfighting is illegal in Louisiana, with a maximum six-month prison term and $1,000 fine for the first offense, and maximum $2,000 fine for subsequent offenses.


 “Cockfighting is an inhumane practice where intentional pain is inflicted upon another living creature for the sake of barbaric entertainment, and any complaints of such activity are taken very seriously,” said LASPCA CEO Ana Zorrilla.  “Unfortunately the laws in Louisiana currently do not provide serious punishment, and this needs to be changed."


After 6 p.m. Wednesday, LASPCA was still on the scene gathering the roosters.


"We've run out of crates," said organization spokesman Jeffrey Elizardi, speaking of the organization's crates that are used for rescue operations in emergency situations, like the aftermanth of hurricanes..


An 18-wheeler and another truck had already shipped out, and the organization was using makeshift crates to gather up the remaining roosters.


Hens from the scene will be sent back to the LA/SPCA, and be reintroduced into the community. Roosters, on the other hand, are outlawed in New Orleans, per laws that went into effect about a year ago, Elizardi said.


"There's no real place to put them," he said. "They have been bred for aggression."


The roosters may eventually be euthanized, Elizardi said. For now, however, all of the fowl will be kept at the LASPCA facility as evidence.


Update 10 p.m. 

At the end of the LASPCA's work for the day, Elizardi revised the estimated total number of chickens on the property to 800. Workers will be back on the scene Thursday to collect another 100 chickens that remain out of cages, Elizardi said.


-Stephen Babcock

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