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Colorado group takes in dozens of abused animals after bust at Norman farm

By Kilee Thomas

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    NORMAN, Oklahoma (KOCO) — A group took in dozens of abused animals after a bust at a Norman farm.

The rooster-fighting ring was found when the owners of the property called the fire department for help. KOCO 5 spoke with the rooster sanctuary, which stepped in to help.

“Most of the time when roosters are confiscated from cockfighting, roosters are killed because the public believes they are dangerous birds,” said Jewel Johnson, the founder of Rooster Sanctuary at Danzig’s Roost.

The sanctuary in Bennett, Colorado, is on a mission to change that. On Sunday night, nearly 70 roosters from Norman were transported to a new home after being bred to kill.

Johnson said the birds were maimed with their wattles and combs chopped off.

“They cut off the comb which is the large piece of skin that is on the top of their head. They cut it off as close to the scalp as they can with scissors,” Johnson said.

The sanctuary said it’s a telltale sign of cockfighting, along with the roosters’ spurs being cut down.

“They cut those spurs down to a quarter inch so they can wrap the feet and put a weapon there, a gaff or a knife. It depends on the style of cockfighting. Most of the roosters that we did receive have their spurs cut down,” Johnson said.

On Jan. 23, Norman fire and Animal Welfare were called to a home near Lake Thunderbird for reports of a barn fire. Once there, they found a large-scale cockfighting operation.

“Most abuses are founded on the belief that you have a right to do this to someone else. I don’t believe we have a right to do this to them,” Johnson said.

Now, the rooster sanctuary is working to adopt the birds to loving homes.

“What you wouldn’t believe is the ones that are about to be fought are usually the easiest ones to hold and interact with. The more homes these birds get into, there’s more people that can advocate for them,” Johnson said.

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