Jose Luis Ochoa, 35, of Lamont, California, was killed by his own rooster. He even armed the bird with the knives that caused his mortal wound.
Mr. Ochoa was declared dead at a local hospital nearly two hours after he was injured in neighboring Tulare County on Jan. 30, said the Kern County coroner. He had been stabbed in the calf by a rooster armed with knives, and several dead roosters and other evidence of cockfighting were found at the scene.
Apparently the weapon attached to the rooster's leg sliced into the handler's calf, causing the "sharp force injury" cited in the autopsy report.
"I have never seen this type of incident," Sgt. Martin King, a 24-year veteran of the sheriff's department, said to the Bakersfield Californian. "People have been known to bleed out from those injuries if medical attention is not obtained immediately."
According to Kern County Superior Court records, Ochoa had paid $370 in fines in 2010, pleading no contest to charges of "owning or training an animal for fighting." A second offense would have been considered a felony under California law.
Fighting animals is horrific. Our relationship with animals is multifaceted and complex, but one thing that remains steadfast is that it is unconscionable to use an animal's own nature to risk its life or its opponent's life. It is telling of the nature of the human who chooses this form of "entertainment."
That having been said, it is tragic that this event unfolded in the way that it did, and that a man died as a result. Hopefully, this tragedy makes some reconsider their "entertainment" choices.
Sadly, Kansas City and the rural areas around it have a cockfighting culture, and court records bear this out. It remains to be seen if this event will bring light to the unimagined consequences one might suffer for this law-breaking behavior.