A local law enforcement team — made up of the Galveston Police Department, University of Texas Police Department, Galveston County Sheriff’s Department, Santa Fe Police Department, Galveston County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office and RAIDER Officers from Harris County Precinct 6 — raided a site in Santa Fe, Texas (in Galveston County) on Thursday morning to uncover a cockfighting breeding facility.
Working on information obtained during an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States, the team arrested Santa Fe resident Jimmy Lee Bradshaw. He was charged with two counts of felony cockfighting (punishable by up to two years in state jail) and one count of misdemeanor cockfighting (punishable by up to one year in county jail).
John Goodwin, director of animal cruelty policy for the HSUS, told CultureMap that Bradshaw was blatant about his involvement with cockfighting: He has been running advertisements for years, even posting photos and prices for battle cross roosters online.
Bradshaw was blatant about his involvement with cockfighting: He has been running advertisements for years, even posting photos and prices for battle cross roosters online.
"We found hundreds of roosters, an area I believe to be a cockfighting ring and dozens of knives that they tie to the roosters' legs during a fight," explained Goodwin, who was on the scene this morning. "We also found old cockfighting magazines and even schedules for other cockfights."
The Humane Society was instrumental in passing House Bill 1043 through the Texas legislature this year, a law "[r]elating to creating an offense for engaging in certain conduct relating to cockfighting." The law went into effect on Sept. 1, and law enforcement agencies around the state are cracking down on cockfighting rings all over the state. Fifteen people were indicted during a sting operation at a cockfighting facility in Gonzalez County in January, and on Sunday 13 were cited in Fort Worth for watching a cockfight.
Thursday's raid was the first time HB 1043 has been used to prosecute a breeder.
"We push for strong penalties because we have to show those involved that the consequences are far greater than the outcome of a cockfight," said Goodwin, since a lot of money can be at stake for breeders and gamblers.
The HSUS was not able to take away the roosters from the facility on Thursday, but Goodwin explained that the organization will ideally be able to eventually take custody of the animals and offer them for adoption.