U.S. News


'Operation Angry Birds' Takes Down N.Y. Cockfighting Ring

More than 3,000 birds were rescued in the bust of New York's largest cockfighting ring in history.
Posted at 12:29 PM, Feb 10, 2014

Authorities busted the largest cockfighting ring in New York state history over the weekend.

Investigators carried out three simultaneous raids known as "Operation Angry Birds," which helped rescue more than 3,000 birds. (Via WFFF)

Police stormed a basement cockfight in Queens, a pet shop in Brooklyn and a breeding farm in Ulster County. So far, nine people have been charged with felonies and more than 70 taken into custody. (Via WCBS)

Investigators believe the roosters were trained and bred at the farm, then brought to the city twice a month for the big events. 

"Many of them had razors attached to their gaffes for cockfighting. At these events spectators were charged $40 dollars for admission and thousands of dollars of bets were made." (Via WNYW)

The New York Daily News described the scene as "savage" and reports the birds were bred to kill. According to authorities, "The roosters were plied with performance-enhancing drugs and ... exhibited the telltale physical signs of having been bred, trained and altered for fighting."

Bets as high as $10,000 were reportedly placed on the animals. Investigators believe the ring had been intact for years. 

The New York Post quoted New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who said, "Cockfighting is a cruel, abusive and barbaric practice that tortures animals, endangers the health and safety of the public and is known to facilitate other crimes."

The ASPCA assisted in the raids and has established a temporary shelter for the birds.


Cockfighting is said to be one of the first spectator sports and is still popular in Southeast Asia, Cuba, Peru and many other countries, but it is illegal in all 50 U.S. states.