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Men fined and placed on probation for attending cock fight

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After a six-day trial, four men were convicted by a jury for cockfighting-related activities. “The charges resulted from an August 2012 incident when officers from Ontario Police Department received an anonymous phone call that a cockfight was in progress,” said Deputy District Attorney Debbie Ploghaus, who prosecuted the case.

According to the press release issued today, Arnold Mangubat, 41, of Yucaipa, and Rodolfo Porlas, 71, of Rowland Heights, were both convicted of one count each of Knowing Presence as Spectator for Animal Fighting (Pen. Code 597c). They were each fined $2,740 and sentenced to one year of probation.

Defendants Gary Omotoy, 70, of Montclair, and Steven Villarin, 57, of Corona, both arrived at the location the next day and admitted to owning several of the gamecock but claimed they were pets. They were found guilty of one count each of Possession of Gamecock with Intent to Fight Not Transporting an Animal (Pen. Code 597j(a)). Both men are scheduled to be sentenced May 9, 2014, in Rancho Cucamonga Superior Court.

In all,13 men were charged. “When officers arrived they witnessed dozens of people running away and several vehicles speeding off from the location,” Ploghaus said.

Animal control officers seized 2,278 birds, approximately two-thirds of which were identified as gamecock. All were humanely euthanized.

“The gamecocks were individually housed and a large portion of them were dubbed and trimmed,” Ploghaus said.

Cockfighting is illegal in the state of California. It is considered animal cruelty. During a cockfight, two gamecocks are pitted against one another and they fight to the death

“The birds fight with razor-sharp knives or gaffs resembling curved ice picks strapped to their legs. These weapons cause painful injuries such as punctured lungs, gouged-out eyes, and broken limbs,” according to the press release.

Dubbing is a common practice among game breeders who use birds for fighting in which they remove the comb and wattles of the bird with scissors or some other cutting tool. Doing so makes prevents sight impairment during a fight, and it makes more difficult for an opponent to latch onto the bird. It is also said to reduce the risk of bleeding and injury during a fight.

“Trimming is the act of shortening the natural leg spur of the bird in order to attach sharp blades (also known as gaffs) which are used to inflict injury or death to another bird during a fight.”

For more information about cockfighting, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has created this video entitled, “Cockfighting in San Bernardino County.” Be forewarned, the video is graphic. Also, check out the Animal Cruelty Task Force.

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