An alleged cockfighting operation has been busted in Balch Springs. On August 2, the SPCA of Texas, the Balch Springs Police Department, Balch Springs Animal Control, and City of Balch Springs Code Enforcement seized 176 animals from a Balch Springs residence, including 111 hens, 31 roosters, 10 chicks, nine puppies, seven pheasants, six dogs, one peacock, and one kitten.
The birds were found in various pens and coops that had been arranged in narrow, winding rows behind the residence.
Two dogs and the puppies were found in a feces-filled garage. The remaining dogs were found in pens, separated into male and female pairs.
The kitten was found roaming freely.
None of the animals had access to adequate water, and only some had food or shelter. The animals appeared to be suffering from several medical issues, including overheating, dehydration, open wounds, and missing feathers.
The residence came to authorities' attention on July 30, when Balch Springs Animal Services responded to an odor complaint.
During the visit, cockfighting paraphernalia was plainly visible to the officers, who contacted Balch Springs Police Department. An SPCA of Texas investigator visited on August 1 and spotted paraphernalia that included short knives known as "slashers," wax string, leather straps, transport boxes, and sparring muffs.
The civil custody hearing will take place on August 7 at 9 am at the Dallas County Government Center, Precinct 1, Place 2, located at 107 Texas St., in Lancaster, with the Honorable Valencia Nash presiding. Criminal charges are expected to be filed.
Cockfighting is a crime in all 50 states. In Texas, it's a felony to cause birds to fight with one another and/or to use property for the purpose of cockfighting, punishable by up to two years in a state jail and/or up to a $10,000 fine; a Class A misdemeanor to possess, manufacture, or sell cockfighting paraphernalia; a Class A misdemeanor to own or train a rooster with the intent to fight the bird; and a Class C misdemeanor to be a spectator at a cockfight.
Federal law also prohibits any interstate or foreign transport of fighting animals.
This is not the first time a cockfighting operation has been found in Balch Springs, located on the southeast corner of Dallas, east of Pleasant Grove, south of Mesquite. Another was found in 2018, when 48 roosters were seized.
These animals were transported to the SPCA of Texas' Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center, where they will be evaluated by medical staff and cared for until the custody hearing takes place.