Cockfighting ring broken up in San Mateo

March 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
New information was released Monday night in a Bay Area cockfighting ring busted over the weekend. However, there is still no hope for dozens of birds taken by animal control.

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There are a number of surviving birds of a cockfighting ring in San Mateo County, but the 39 birds are all scheduled to be euthanized.

"Birds that have been raised as fighting birds, really can't become pets. So they can't go into someone else's home or they could stay in a cage like they're in right now, but it would be an awful quality of life," said Scott Delucchi, from the Peninsula Humane Society.

Authorities already destroyed 97 of the seized birds. Deputies made the discovery at a Pescadero home along the San Mateo County coast. According to investigators, that's where the property owner, Bradford Mark Magpiong, had set up a fighting ring. Officers saw as many as 40 men surrounding the arena before they took off running. Magpiong, however, was arrested, and remains locked up at the San Mateo County Jail.

Cockfighting is a misdemeanor, but the suspect has been slapped with a large bail amount -- $970,000. That's $10,000 for each of the 97 birds he owned. Authorities say along with the birds, they confiscated fighting spurs as well as syringes and antiseptic. San Mateo County investigators say they run into these cases a few times a year.

"We haven't found it that often, but there are people in different cultures and such where this is acceptable," said Lt. Ray Lunny, from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department.

As for the surviving birds, they are scheduled to be euthanized in less than two weeks. Workers at the Peninsula Humane Society say this is the hard part of their job.

"We absolutely see the best and worst in people dealing with animals and this is one of the sad cases," said Delucchi.

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