Press Release

Statement on Caldwell County Cockfighting Bust – Latest in a Series of Texas Raids on Animal Fights

Our nation’s biggest border state is an extraordinary hotspot for cockfighting, illegal movement of fighting animals over the Mexico-Texas boundary

Austin, TX — Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy, applauded the work to the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office for seizing 35 roosters from what appears to have been a large-scale cockfighting operation — just the latest in what seems an unyielding string of cockfighting busts in the state.

According to a news report, the call that came in as a case of animal cruelty turned out to be a cockfighting situation. Authorities have detained nine people so far, but no arrests have been made. Meanwhile, the sheriff’s office said the roosters were seized while 20 cars and a trailer were towed.

“Cockfighting is both inhumane and rampant in Texas, with fighting birds moved regularly over the U.S.-Mexico border,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action, which is leading a national campaign against staged animal fighting. “We applaud the Caldwell County Sheriffs’ Office for its work on this case to stamp out cockfighting and associated criminal activity in Texas.”

Animal Wellness Action offers a reward of up to $2,500 for information on the location of cockfighting and dogfighting operations, especially for information that leads to arrests and convictions. Tipsters can email

In Texas alone, there have been a steady drumbeat of cockfighting interdictions, including one yesterday, when the Harris County Constable’s Office and the Houston SPCA seized more than 115 roosters and hens from what appears to have been a large-scale cockfighting operation. A bust occurred in Potter County two weekends ago where over 160 roosters were seized and according to the sheriff, many participants were “unlawfully in the United States.” At a cockfight busted by the San Jacinto Sheriff, suspects were “expected to face multiple felony charges, ranging from animal cruelty, cockfighting, illegal gambling, unlawful weapon possession, organized crime, and federal firearm possession by illegal immigrants.” More of the same in Cherokee, where two dozen people were arrested on similar charges. In Lynn County, the sheriff brought felony charges “because of organized criminal activity.”

There have been a series of interdictions at the border, including a law enforcement action where officers “made an unusual discovery, roosters deeply hidden within passenger vehicles.” Border Patrol and Customs seized this shipment of fighting implements from Mexico City and separately found cockfighting blades and other paraphernalia at the border in California. 

Local and federal authorities often  cooperate on these cases, but they need better enforcement tools and stronger laws. The FIGHT Act delivers them, by banning on-line gambling on dogfights and cockfights; prohibiting shipping adult fighting roosters through the U.S. mail, strengthening forfeiture authority for fighting pits and properties used to conduct these cruel activities; and allowing private rights of action against dogfighters and cockfighters in the absences of federal law enforcement.

More than 450 organizations and law enforcement agencies already endorse The FIGHT Act, including the Small and Rural Law Enforcement Executive Association, state sheriffs’ associations, the United Egg Producers, Rose Acre Farms, Hickman’s Family Farms in Arizona, Vital Farms in Texas, Texas Humane Legislation Network, and the American Gaming Association. Read more here.

“I consider passing the FIGHT Act in Congress as urgent a priority as we have at Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy,” Pacelle said.

U.S. Representatives from Texas who are cosponsors of the bill are Jasmine Crockett, D-30; Lloyd Doggett, D-37; Lizzie Fletcher, D-7; Lance Gooden, R-5; and Troy Nehls, R-22. H.R. 2742 has 58 Democrats and 43 Republicans as cosponsors. Senators Cory Booker, D-N.J., and John Kennedy, R-La., are the lead authors of the Senate companion measure, S. 1529.

Center for a Humane Economy is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help animals by helping forge a more humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both. The Center believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @TheHumaneCenter

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state and local levels that forbid cruelty to all animals. The group also works to enforce existing anti-cruelty and wildlife protection laws. Animal Wellness Action believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @AWAction_News