The Smith County Sherriff’s Department put an end to what was believed to be a cockfighting operation Friday night at the 2600 block of Primera road.

According to the Sherriffs Department 44 roosters were seized and nearly 20 people were detained on sight. The Humane Society of the United States and Child Protective Services were on hand as several children were nearby. The Humane Society supplied key information that led to the raid.

Most of the individuals detained Friday night were released, as Texas is one of 6 states where it is not illegal to attend cockfights. In Texas it is also not against the law to possess cockfighting weapons or to possess roosters for fighting. The Humane Society is supporting H.B 1043, sponsored by Rep. Wayne Christian, R-District 9, to strengthen the state's cockfighting law to prohibit attending cockfights or possessing birds for the purposes of fighting them, which will close glaring loopholes in existing law.

The HSUS offers rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person involved in illegal animal fighting. Anyone with information about animal fighting criminals is asked to call 877-TIP-HSUS (847-4787). Tipsters' identities will be protected.  

Despite the current laws, Police hope that their presence Friday evening will deter any other cockfighting rings in the area.

Facts About Cockfighting:

-          Cockfighting is outlawed in all 50 states and is punished as a felony in 39.

-          Texas can punish cockfighting as a felony, but state law does not ban being a spectator at a cockfight. This makes it difficult for law enforcement to charge most people caught in cockfighting raids as participants routinely abandon their birds and claim they were only present to watch the fights.

-           Every state that borders Texas bans the keeping or training of roosters for the purposes of fighting them. Texas will continue to be the destination of choice for cockfighters in the region so long as the Lone Star state has more loopholes for this blood sport than any other southwestern state.

(Photo via google)