CHICAGO (CBS) — More than 80 roosters and hens have been removed from a West Englewood home amid accusations of animal fighting.
It’s not a farm in Illinois but the backyard of a house that has dozens of roosters in unkempt chicken coops, doors on the ground, broken fences and ripped wire fencing.
Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward), who represents the area where the house is located, says residents alerted him Friday of the possible cockfighting. He took action.
“It was very plain to see that this was not just some everyday chicken coop situation. It looked like an abandoned garage that had at least 75 cages,” Lopez said.
CBS 2’s cameras recorded the alleged owner arriving at the scene and being questioned by police and animal control. Moments later, he was handcuffed and escorted away. Ald. Lopez says the owner has had run-ins with law enforcement in the past because of similar animal abuse.
This has become a growing issue in Chicago.
“We’ve been seeing a growing trend in not just my neighborhood but in the Southwest Side in particular of animal fighting and animal abuse. Normally, it comes in the form of pitbull fighting in abandoned houses. That’s been going on all the way from Marquette Park to Englewood,” Lopez said.
Maria Ocana has lived on the property for the last four years. She says the roosters have been there for nearly three. She said she asked the owner clean the yard in the past. But, she says, she has never seen a cockfight at the property.
The local alderman says that’s simply not the case.
“It’s abuse. We have to stop it. It’s a felony in Illinois to fight animals like this. I’m hopeful we’ll be able to prosecute this individual to the fullest extent of the law,” Lopez said.
Animal Control said the Chicago Chicken Rescue has agreed to take the birds.