FRESNO (CBS SF) — A 49-year-old Fresno man was sentenced to two years in federal prison and ordered not to own any animal for at least a decade after law enforcement officers discovered a massive illegal cockfighting operation at his home.
U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott said Thomas Lee Crow was also fined $5,500 in addition to agreeing to the forfeiture of $22,800.
During his sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill stated: “This is nothing short of a case of animal torture. His animals were treated without compassion.”
Crow’s sentence followed his guilty plea earlier this year.
According to court documents, law enforcement officers searched Crow’s rural Fresno residential property last year after he was detained at a large cockfighting event in Kerman.
At the cockfight, Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies and detectives recovered 129 fighting roosters, including 28 dead and nine injured roosters. Crow was in possession of $22,800 in cash, along with a scoresheet that tracked the winnings for 144 gamecocks expected to fight that evening.
They also found cockfighting equipment, such as knives used for cockfighting called slashers, sheaths, mounting boots, and scales.
During the search of Crow’s residence, officers found an additional 200 fighting roosters and items associated with cockfighting, including 293 slashers; injectable stimulants, such as “Pure Aggression,” and scoresheets used for cockfighting derbies.
The officers also found personalized leg bands in Crow’s name for sponsoring his birds in cockfighting events.