Rescued roosters euthanized

About 400 roosters that the Louisiana SPCA rescued from an illegal breeding operation in New Orleans East last week were euthanized because the agency was not able to find new homes for them.

Ana Zorrilla, SPCA’s chief executive officer, said that several sanctuaries and rooster rehabilitation groups were contacted in an effort to prevent having to put down the birds but that none were able to take them. The roosters were bred specifically for fighting.

About 235 chickens and hens, meanwhile, were sent to new homes, with some going to rural farms. Others went to people within the city limits who have coops in which they planned to raise the birds, Zorrilla said.

SPCA officials said after the seizure last Wednesday that it expected to easily find homes for the hens and chicks but that it would be harder to deal with the male birds. The roosters are naturally aggressive even before they are trained to fight with blades strapped to their legs, officials said.

The SPCA described the breeding operation, in the 14000 block of Chef Menteur Highway, as the most sprawling and sophisticated one it has encountered in more than a century.

Some birds were kept inside of drums while hundreds of others ran free. Some of the largest birds — worth thousands on the black market — were kept in large corrals inside of a climate-controlled shed.

Trinh Tran, 47, was booked after the raid with cockfighting and animal cruelty charges as well as with a municipal charge of being in possession of illegal exotic animals.

He told authorities he fought the birds at competitions in Alabama and Mississippi.

Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states. Louisiana outlawed the ancient bloodsport, mostly practiced in rural areas, in 2008. New Orleans outlawed roosters earlier this year.

SPCA officials along with New Orleans police found 235 spikes used in cockfighting stored in Tran’s home.

There also were shelves of antibiotics, syringes and steroids injected into the birds to make them bigger and stronger.