It will be just one or two roosters for some rural San Diego county residents under an ordinance approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors. It's part of an effort to reduce cockfighting, eliminate the potential for the birds to become a public nuisance and insure they're kept in humane conditions.
The ordinance passed 4-1, with Chairman Bill Horn dissenting. At a previous meeting, Horn said cockfighting should be a felony, as it is some other states.
Dianne Jacob, who represents Ramona on the board, agreed.
"Cockfighting is a disgusting, barbaric activity which masquerades as a
sport and creates overly aggressive roosters that are ultimately destroyed when animal services proceeds with enforcement action on the cockfighting rings,'' she said.
The ordinance requires roosters to be untethered and kept in humane
conditions, with enough room to fully spread their wings. Enclosures must also be kept at least 50 feet from homes.
The limits, based on lot sizes, are set to take effect Jan. 1, to give people time to comply.
Properties of less than a half-acre will be limited to one rooster.
Up to four roosters will be allowed on lots of at least one acre, six on
five acres, and as many as 20 roosters on properties larger than five acres.
The new rules will not apply to commercial poultry operations, approved 4-H Clubs, Future Farmers of America projects, schools, animal shelters or animal welfare organizations which employ humane officers.
Under state law it is a misdemeanor to keep, possess or train any bird
with the intent to use it for fighting. Several counties have passed similar laws in an effort to stop cockfighting.
"Cockfighting, like dog fighting, are criminal activities and, unfortunately, California does not punish them sufficiently,'' Supervisor Pam Slater-Price said.
Since 2000, Department of Animal Services investigations have ended in more than 100 arrests, confiscation of cockfighting paraphernalia, such as spurs or gaffs, and the euthanasia of thousands of fighting birds, according to county data. Each year, the department's officers conduct thousands of investigations, ranging from minor violations to felony animal cruelty cases.
City News Service contributed to this report.