Wednesday, August 02, 2017

A SEVERELY mauled cockerel had to be put to sleep by a vet following a suspected organised cock fight in Portlaoise last week.

Members of the Laois Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LSPCA) were contacted last Tuesday by a member of the public, who came across the dying cockerel in Clonminam Industrial Estate.

A spokeswoman for the society said: “A member of the public found the bird and contacted one of our field officers. She told the field officer that she had seen the bird the day before wandering about in a very bad state and when she approached it the next day it wasn’t moving.

“When two of our volunteers got to the scene, they found the bird still alive and saw how distressed it was. They immediately rang our out-of-service vet, who sent a nurse to the area. We decided that the kindest thing to do was to put the bird out of its misery. His wattles and comb (the red flesh part above the head and beak) had been sliced off, his wings had been clipped and his left eye was severely mauled and damaged.

“It was found in an outdoor area down a laneway along with the remains of what looked like a cock fighting ring. Beer cans were thrown around and a circular area was evidently used as the ring. The cockerel was obviously just thrown there after losing the fight and was no longer needed,” explained the LSPCA spokeswoman.

She said that in her 15 years’ experience of dealing with all kinds of gruesome animal cruelty cases, it was the first time that LSPCA volunteers had come across evidence of cock fighting in Laois.

She described cock fighting as a “barbaric blood sport”.

“These beautiful birds are kept tethered by one leg to a barrel or in cages all of their lives until they are ready to fight. Most times their wattles and combs are hacked off with shears so they are not in the way in the fighting ring. Sometimes their spurs are removed and replaced with metal ones to cause more trauma and damage to the other cockerel. Once the fight is over, the dead or dying cockerel is just thrown to one side and left there to die, which is exactly what happened in this case.”
“For people who think this kind of cruelty doesn’t happen any more, it does. This isn’t an isolated case. It’s just hidden away in isolated areas for privacy so that these sick individuals can gamble and get their kicks from watching two birds slice each other to death.
“If you suspect one is being organised or has taken place near you, ring the guards so that they can keep an eye on the area. This blood sport is beyond unacceptable and needs to stop,” concluded the spokeswoman.

She said that the incident had been reported to the gardaí.

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By Joe Barrett
Contact Newsdesk: +353 57 86 70216

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