The New York attorney general's office announced Wednesday that nine of the 70 people arrested in a giant cockfighting bust in New York have plead guilty. Among the nine men caught in a sting called "Operation Angry Birds," two farmers plead guilty and received felony convictions. They will never be allowed to own animals again, under a law that prohibits animal fighting. Seven other men charged with felonies took guilty pleas in April.
"Cockfighting is a cruel, abusive and barbaric practice. It tortures animals, endangers the health and safety of our communities and is known to facilitate other crimes," Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general, said in a statement. "My office, along with our partners in law enforcement and animal welfare, are committed to ending this vicious blood sport in New York."
"Operation Angry Birds" involved three New York counties, a massive bust at a cockfighting event in Queens and an apprehension in Florida. Sadly, it also involved huge numbers of birds. After a police raid on a farm in Plattekill, N.Y., the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals rescued nearly 4,000 birds and then moved the birds to a temporary shelter in upstate New York. From the attorney general's office: