LOS ANGELES (AP) – Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to limit the number of roosters that people can keep after thousands of birds were seized in a crackdown on illegal cockfighting.
The ordinance will limit the number of roosters property owners can keep in unincorporated county areas based on lot size. Up to 10 could be kept on large lots. People who want more birds could have up to 25 roosters if they obtain a license to run an animal facility.
The law is expected to take effect in 30 days and first-time violators could be fined up to $100.
Nearly half of the county’s 88 incorporated cities already limit or ban residential roosters.
The county has been considering the law for unincorporated areas since last year, after authorities seized nearly 8,000 roosters in Val Verde. It was the largest cockfighting raid in U.S. history. The enforcement costs were put at $270,000.
The Sheriff’s Department has received more than 100 complaints of cockfights in progress in recent years and served nearly three dozen search warrants at places suspected of breeding birds for cockfighting, Capt. Jeff Perry said.
At some of those places, deputies found illegal drugs and guns and indications of child endangerment and theft of utilities, authorities said.
“These raids have significant costs,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. “There’s no question in my mind that this county has to take action.”
Since 2012, the county’s Department of Animal Care and Control has impounded more than 18,000 birds.
But the new ordinance was designed to allow bird lovers room to keep their beloved fowl.
“Legitimate poultry fanciers will be able to continue their hobby,” said Marcia Mayeda, who directs the animal control department. “There are some remarkable chickens out there.”
The ordinance doesn’t limit hens, which can lay eggs without roosters.
“We have a lot of people who just raise hens to feed their family,” Supervisor Hilda Solis said.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.