Authorities ask public to be alert about cockfighting

Police and Department of Agriculture officers seized this rooster, among more than 40, that they believe were used for cockfighting during a March 21 operation in the North Sound Estates area. - Photo: RCIPS

The Department of Agriculture and Royal Cayman Islands Police Service issued an advisory Friday urging Cayman residents to report information it may have about cockfighting.

The DoA and RCIPS have been engaged in investigating cockfighting complaints, and Friday’s advisory stressed that the activity is punishable by law under Section 71 of the Animals Law (2015 revision.)

Police officers arrested a 50-year-old man on March 21 in connection with an illegal cockfighting ring, and found more than 40 roosters after a search in the North Sound Estates area.

Another arrest took place in June, when RCIPS and DoA staff members conducted a search of a North Sound Road address and arrested a 32-year-old man on suspicion of crimes related to cockfighting.

One of these two cases is already before the court; the other is awaiting a ruling from the Department of Public Prosecutions.

The DoA stressed Friday that cockfighting is an age-old sport in other countries but remains illegal in Cayman.

Minister for Agriculture Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, in a statement, said, “As Minister, I support the endeavor of the DoA to raise awareness of the illegality of this activity. In addition to causing cruelty to animals, cockfighting is often linked to other crimes, such as illegal gambling, robbery, drug activity or worse.

“It saddens me to know children are often present at these events and exposure to such violence can desensitize them to other’s pain and decrease their sense of empathy, an invaluable life trait for success.”

The DoA’s advisory Friday indicated that the agency is employing a zero-tolerance approach to offenses related to cockfighting. The danger is not just confined to animals; the DoA noted that cockfighting attracts wagers of large sums of money, which inflames the potential for violent confrontations.