Animal Welfare Group Claims People In Eastern Okla. Are Shipping Cockfighting Birds

Tuesday, May 26th 2020, 9:39 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

TULSA, Okla. - An animal welfare group said people in Green Country are breeding and shipping fighting birds to Guam for illegal cockfighting.

The group claims Oklahoma may have the highest number of these shipments. The groups said they believe three of the five top shippers of fighting birds to Guam are from Eastern Oklahoma and they want to see those shippers charged in federal court.

"Oklahoma is still the cockfighting capital of the U.S.," said Wayne Pacelle, with Animal Wellness Action.

Pacelle is the founder of Animal Wellness Action.

He said an investigation they did alongside Animal Wellness Foundation shows people in Oklahoma are breeding and shipping thousands of birds and sending them to places like Guam for cockfighting.

Pacelle said Oklahoma was one of the last states to make cockfighting illegal in 2002.

Former Attorney General Drew Edmondson and a chair for the animal groups, sent a letter to U.S. attorney Brian Kuester in Muskogee to investigate the allegations.

"Shipping records on the shipments, of what we allege are fighting birds sent to Guam," said Edmondson.

The groups said one of the shippers is from Heavener, one is in Tahlequah, and the third is in Stigler.

We aren't naming them at this time, since there are no arrests or charges.

But records show the one in Stigler was convicted in Arkansas in 2018 for participating in a cockfighting event and sentenced to probation.

Pacelle said they think the birds are being bred for fighting because a high percentage were roosters and Guam doesn't have show birds or a large agricultural industry.

Pacelle said aside from this being animal cruelty, cockfighting is tied to other illegal activity.

"Involved in drug trafficking, human on human violence, and of course illegal gambling," he said.

They hope to see the farms shut down and arrests made.

"It's time to treat this as a serious matter," said Pacelle.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said they can't confirm whether there's a federal investigation, but they are aware of the letter.

News On 6 contacted the people named in the groups letter but had not heard back before the airing of this story.