News

Alleged cockfighting operation busted in East Palo Alto

Large operation spelled death for 56 birds, one person was arrested

Nearly 60 chickens were removed from an East Palo Alto property on March 23 after city police and Peninsula Humane Society officers discovered an alleged cockfighting operation -- one of the largest in the county in recent years -- and resulted in one arrest.

The operation was uncovered after East Palo Alto police initially investigated a call at 3:50 p.m. regarding an aggressive dog that was loose on the street. The animal was associated with the property where the chickens were found, according to police Chief Albert Pardini noted in a weekly crime bulletin.

Arriving officers found the dog in the rear yard of a residence in the 1200 block of Cypress Street. The dog was found not to be aggressive toward people, but it was trying to attack roosters and hens in the rear yard, according to Pardini.

Officers located 56 cocks, hens and chicks and cages constructed near the back fence, which contained most of the birds. A dead rooster was lying on top of one of the cages and officers noticed two or three injured birds in the cages. Police notified the Peninsula Humane Society, which investigates suspected animal cruelty cases.

Arriving on scene, Lead Humane Investigator Christina Hanley found evidence that immediately led her to suspect a cockfighting operation, Humane Society spokeswoman Buffy Martin Tarbox said. Dozens of the birds had been "dubbed " -- their combs, wattles and earlobes were removed -- to make them more lean for fighting and fight longer, she said. This type of modification of roosters is consistent with cockfighting.

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Many of the birds still had open and bleeding wounds from the dubbing process, Hanley later said.

Police and Humane Society officers located 90 metal "slasher" knives in an open shed, which are taped to the legs of the birds to make fighting more deadly. Several vials of antibiotics used to treat injured roosters were also found in the shed, she said.

The suspect, 29-year-old Aldenni de Jesus Trujillo Santiago, agreed to surrender the chickens. All 56 birds were determined to be either severely injured or bred to be too aggressive for adoption and were euthanized, Tarbox said.

Trujillo Santiago was booked into the Maguire Correctional Facility in Redwood City on felony crimes against animals and two misdemeanors of possession of fighting birds. The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said a booking photo was not yet available. Humane Society officials are continuing their investigation.

"Cockfighting is animal abuse and is highly illegal. The Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA deals with cockfighting cases every two to three years, although not necessarily involving the number of birds associated with this recent case. We respond to reports of animal cruelty, including cockfighting and last year alone our humane investigators handled more than 450 cases of animal cruelty and neglect," Tarbox said in a statement to the Palo Alto Weekly.

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San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said the case had not yet reached his office. He expressed surprise at the size of the seizure. In recent years his office has not received many cases, perhaps one a year to every three years.

"The numbers (of birds) we see are five, 15, 20. This would be a large operation," he said.

Trujillo Santiago had only one prior prosecution, in June 2013, for a state Fish and Game violation of fishing without a license and later convicted, Wagstaffe said.

Pardini said in addition to confiscating the birds, a City of East Palo Alto Code Enforcement team responded to inspect the yard and found several violations, including two illegal outbuildings, illegal wiring and a potential illegal addition to the home. The tenants were issued a warning to correct all violations, remove the bird cages and to remove two inoperable vehicles from the front yard. The code enforcement team will conduct a follow-up visit at the residence to insure all violations have been corrected, he said.

Tarbox said the Humane Society has a Cruelty Hot Line and encourages the public to call if they suspect an animal is being abused. The number is 650-340-7022, ext. 601.

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Alleged cockfighting operation busted in East Palo Alto

Large operation spelled death for 56 birds, one person was arrested

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Mar 30, 2017, 8:37 am
Updated: Thu, Mar 30, 2017, 10:26 am

Nearly 60 chickens were removed from an East Palo Alto property on March 23 after city police and Peninsula Humane Society officers discovered an alleged cockfighting operation -- one of the largest in the county in recent years -- and resulted in one arrest.

The operation was uncovered after East Palo Alto police initially investigated a call at 3:50 p.m. regarding an aggressive dog that was loose on the street. The animal was associated with the property where the chickens were found, according to police Chief Albert Pardini noted in a weekly crime bulletin.

Arriving officers found the dog in the rear yard of a residence in the 1200 block of Cypress Street. The dog was found not to be aggressive toward people, but it was trying to attack roosters and hens in the rear yard, according to Pardini.

Officers located 56 cocks, hens and chicks and cages constructed near the back fence, which contained most of the birds. A dead rooster was lying on top of one of the cages and officers noticed two or three injured birds in the cages. Police notified the Peninsula Humane Society, which investigates suspected animal cruelty cases.

Arriving on scene, Lead Humane Investigator Christina Hanley found evidence that immediately led her to suspect a cockfighting operation, Humane Society spokeswoman Buffy Martin Tarbox said. Dozens of the birds had been "dubbed " -- their combs, wattles and earlobes were removed -- to make them more lean for fighting and fight longer, she said. This type of modification of roosters is consistent with cockfighting.

Many of the birds still had open and bleeding wounds from the dubbing process, Hanley later said.

Police and Humane Society officers located 90 metal "slasher" knives in an open shed, which are taped to the legs of the birds to make fighting more deadly. Several vials of antibiotics used to treat injured roosters were also found in the shed, she said.

The suspect, 29-year-old Aldenni de Jesus Trujillo Santiago, agreed to surrender the chickens. All 56 birds were determined to be either severely injured or bred to be too aggressive for adoption and were euthanized, Tarbox said.

Trujillo Santiago was booked into the Maguire Correctional Facility in Redwood City on felony crimes against animals and two misdemeanors of possession of fighting birds. The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said a booking photo was not yet available. Humane Society officials are continuing their investigation.

"Cockfighting is animal abuse and is highly illegal. The Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA deals with cockfighting cases every two to three years, although not necessarily involving the number of birds associated with this recent case. We respond to reports of animal cruelty, including cockfighting and last year alone our humane investigators handled more than 450 cases of animal cruelty and neglect," Tarbox said in a statement to the Palo Alto Weekly.

San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said the case had not yet reached his office. He expressed surprise at the size of the seizure. In recent years his office has not received many cases, perhaps one a year to every three years.

"The numbers (of birds) we see are five, 15, 20. This would be a large operation," he said.

Trujillo Santiago had only one prior prosecution, in June 2013, for a state Fish and Game violation of fishing without a license and later convicted, Wagstaffe said.

Pardini said in addition to confiscating the birds, a City of East Palo Alto Code Enforcement team responded to inspect the yard and found several violations, including two illegal outbuildings, illegal wiring and a potential illegal addition to the home. The tenants were issued a warning to correct all violations, remove the bird cages and to remove two inoperable vehicles from the front yard. The code enforcement team will conduct a follow-up visit at the residence to insure all violations have been corrected, he said.

Tarbox said the Humane Society has a Cruelty Hot Line and encourages the public to call if they suspect an animal is being abused. The number is 650-340-7022, ext. 601.

Comments

AllYouCanEat
Mountain View
on Mar 30, 2017 at 9:18 am
AllYouCanEat, Mountain View
on Mar 30, 2017 at 9:18 am
21 people like this

I feel we should be more sensitive to other cultures entertainment. Whether it's cockfighting or horse tripping in Mexican rodeos. They have a right to express and nurture their culture and not to be put down by it or arrested. A famous woman once said, "it takes a village." In my opinion this Village needs to be more understanding and compassionate of their wants and needs.


XDM
East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2017 at 10:10 am
XDM, East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2017 at 10:10 am
57 people like this

Not all entertainment is acceptable. Entertainment that causes another living creatures death should not be tolerated anywhere. No matter where someone is from.


rainbow38
Mountain View
on Mar 30, 2017 at 10:45 am
rainbow38, Mountain View
on Mar 30, 2017 at 10:45 am
48 people like this

Causing injury to or death of any animal for human entertainment is abuse!


Myrtle Walker
East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2017 at 11:09 am
Myrtle Walker, East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2017 at 11:09 am
30 people like this

The City of East Palo Alto needs to hire another Code Enforcer. They will find enough violations in this 2.5sq.miles to pay for one out of the fines collected.


Mary Atwater
Menlo Park
on Mar 30, 2017 at 11:19 am
Mary Atwater, Menlo Park
on Mar 30, 2017 at 11:19 am
11 people like this

[Post removed.]


Cur Mudgeon
Greenmeadow
on Mar 30, 2017 at 11:30 am
Cur Mudgeon, Greenmeadow
on Mar 30, 2017 at 11:30 am
16 people like this

AllYouCanEat, are you trolling here? I can't help but feel your post can't be taken seriously. You are clearly into Alternative Facts.


Jeremy Robinson
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 30, 2017 at 11:31 am
Jeremy Robinson, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 30, 2017 at 11:31 am
24 people like this

I found this article deeply disturbing. This vicious practice can escalate to dog fighting, then animal abuse and then child abuse. This has no place in a culture where value is placed on all life. The person arrested in this case must be very disturbed.


Surprised
College Terrace
on Mar 30, 2017 at 11:35 am
Surprised, College Terrace
on Mar 30, 2017 at 11:35 am
40 people like this

Several years ago I moved to Palo Alto per job offer.

I liked the green, cozy, fancy, sophisticated town -- but boy was I surprised when I found out about East Palo Alto adjacent to this fancy sophisticated town!


Surprised
College Terrace
on Mar 30, 2017 at 11:39 am
Surprised, College Terrace
on Mar 30, 2017 at 11:39 am
46 people like this

AllYouCanEat:

Barbaric cultures have no place here.

"It takes a village" refers to a village of people raising and guiding children, in addition to their parents.

You are confused across the board.


Low culture
Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Mar 30, 2017 at 11:55 am
Low culture, Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Mar 30, 2017 at 11:55 am
17 people like this

What a debased culture that allows men to be violent and cruel. Allows and encourages.
No neighbors objected?
I'll bet their womenfolk and mothers would have some stories to tell.


Very Concerned
Registered user
another community
on Mar 30, 2017 at 2:05 pm
Very Concerned, another community
Registered user
on Mar 30, 2017 at 2:05 pm
15 people like this

To: AllYouCanEat

You've GOT to be kidding!!! :(


Jayson
Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 30, 2017 at 3:54 pm
Jayson, Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 30, 2017 at 3:54 pm
12 people like this

AllYouCanEat,
Not taking "the bait". See ya!


Homeoftheslave
Green Acres
on Mar 30, 2017 at 4:39 pm
Homeoftheslave, Green Acres
on Mar 30, 2017 at 4:39 pm
2 people like this

[Post removed.]


Low culture
Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Mar 30, 2017 at 4:58 pm
Low culture, Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Mar 30, 2017 at 4:58 pm
9 people like this

@Homeof 1- there is a big difference between killing animals for food and torturing animals for pleasure.
Big difference. Of course vegetarians don't eat animals. They want to eliminate animal cruelty.

Norms change and newer ideas become important. Not all new ideas are great, but stopping torture for pleasure, or for other reasons, is as a very good change. It boggles my mind that you are defending it.
Torture is outside the limits of civilized behavior.


Homeoftheslave
Green Acres
on Mar 30, 2017 at 5:00 pm
Homeoftheslave, Green Acres
on Mar 30, 2017 at 5:00 pm
5 people like this

O but please keep sending your kids and family to fight never ending wars!!! good lord you folks got some messed up priorities. dont matter if millions of humans are killed at the hands of your corrupt politicians as long as you protect a chicken that is born fighting for territory... Why does the hsus KILL all the BIRDS???? They could easily re-home them as long as the roosters dont live together! Because they are territorial like in nature and will fight to the death.


Jaime
East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2017 at 5:22 pm
Jaime, East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2017 at 5:22 pm
7 people like this

Glad this has been sorted by City Of EPA. I'm surprised the neighbors tolerated this? 50+ Roosters on a Sunday Morning? I can't even begin to imagine.


Big bird
Palo Alto Orchards
on Mar 30, 2017 at 6:56 pm
Big bird, Palo Alto Orchards
on Mar 30, 2017 at 6:56 pm
3 people like this

[Post removed.]


Hmmm
East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2017 at 7:22 pm
Hmmm, East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2017 at 7:22 pm
8 people like this

The level of ignorance in some of these comments is astounding.


bemused
East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2017 at 9:14 pm
bemused, East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2017 at 9:14 pm
Like this comment

@Big bird,

"The errors of Herndon/Weik, compounded by Reep, have led supporters of cockfighting to accept something that cannot be documented from Ellis’s account, Lincoln serving as a judge for a cockfight."

Web Link

There is no historical evidence that Lincoln refereed cockfights, nor that his nickname Honest Abe came from doing so. The two sources that make the claim, Herndon/Weik and Reep, appear to be fanciful elaborations of Ellis's original recollection.




Chickennugget
East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2017 at 9:36 pm
Chickennugget, East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2017 at 9:36 pm
2 people like this

“As long as the Almighty permitted intelligent men, created in his image and likeness, to fight in public and kill each other while the world looks on approvingly, it’s not for me to deprive the chickens of the same privilege.”
– Abraham Lincoln

keep sending your boys to endless war... and dont bat an eye. but if a rooster does what he was born to do your up in arms. get a grip. hsus and peta waist more money on bull than trying to save any animal. they kill thousands and thousands of animals a year. all the birds in this article were killed. the hypocrisy is real


Jose mandu
Old Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2017 at 9:36 pm
Jose mandu, Old Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2017 at 9:36 pm
2 people like this

[Post removed.]


Pete Cockerell
Old Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2017 at 10:12 pm
Pete Cockerell, Old Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2017 at 10:12 pm
6 people like this

I've often wondered just how illegal cockfighting is, and now, thanks to this article, I know: it's highly illegal. Glad I got that cleared up at last.


bemused
East Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2017 at 8:54 am
bemused, East Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2017 at 8:54 am
Like this comment

@chickennugget,

The earliest reference I could find to your quote is a 1963 court case (Lock vs. Falkenstine): "It is reported that Abe Lincoln said...". However, no reference is given. In other words, it's apocryphal. You can believe Lincoln said that if you want, but there's no historical record to support that view.

Web Link


AllYouCanEat
Mountain View
on Mar 31, 2017 at 11:33 am
AllYouCanEat, Mountain View
on Mar 31, 2017 at 11:33 am
11 people like this

Cur Mudgeon. It seems you are the only one that gets it.

It's unbelievable how so many people can be swayed by one persons "obviously sarcastic" remark!

Keep drinking that Kool-Aid folks!


QUESTION TO AllYouCanEat
Mountain View
on Mar 31, 2017 at 12:32 pm
QUESTION TO AllYouCanEat, Mountain View
on Mar 31, 2017 at 12:32 pm
18 people like this

AllYouCanEat:

So what was the point of your original sarcastic inflammatory comment in the first place ??


Gary
Midtown
on Mar 31, 2017 at 1:48 pm
Gary, Midtown
on Mar 31, 2017 at 1:48 pm
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


Here and now
Palo Alto High School
on Apr 1, 2017 at 9:07 am
Here and now, Palo Alto High School
on Apr 1, 2017 at 9:07 am
2 people like this

What matters is the here and now: stopping illegal activities, in this case animal abuse and illegal betting.
To the dudes running and participating in this cockfighting: What a way to spend your time, get a life.
Better yet, get a job.


@AllYouCanEat
Menlo Park
on Apr 1, 2017 at 5:45 pm
@AllYouCanEat, Menlo Park
on Apr 1, 2017 at 5:45 pm
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


ComMon SenSE
Palo Verde
on Apr 1, 2017 at 9:05 pm
ComMon SenSE, Palo Verde
on Apr 1, 2017 at 9:05 pm
Like this comment

kool


Resident
Mayfield
on Apr 2, 2017 at 9:24 pm
Resident, Mayfield
on Apr 2, 2017 at 9:24 pm
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


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