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One of the fighting roosters seized in a raid of a Dunnigan-area cockfighting site. (Courtesy of Yolo County District Attorney's office)

One of the fighting roosters seized in a raid of a Dunnigan-area cockfighting site. (Courtesy of Yolo County District Attorney’s office)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JUNE 25, 2014 –

(Photos added to web version of this article)

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that on June 13, Yolo County Superior Court Judge Daniel Maguire awarded $75,135 to the County in restitution following convictions of an illegal cockfighting operation.

In January, a Yolo County Jury convicted Lorenzo Ponce of Dunnigan on all charges arising out of an “underground” cockfighting ring operated at his home.  Judge Maguire sentenced 63-year-old Lorenzo Pena Ponce to 20 days county jail and three years summary probation for these crimes.

The District Attorney’s Office asked for $106,235.00 from Ponce for the costs of impoundment, care, and euthanasia of the birds taken from Ponce’s property.  Ponce contested the amount at sentencing, and a restitution hearing was scheduled.

In that hearing, a representative from the Sheriff’s Animal Control division testified the County incurred the loss as a result of housing and taking care of the birds for 60 days before the birds lawfully euthanized.  Judge Maguire awarded the county $75,135.00 compensating for forty of the sixty days.  Deputy District Attorney Barry Shapiro, who prosecuted the case, requested that Judge Maguire advise Ponce that he may not own or care for an animal for five years following his conviction.

The restitution will reimburse Sheriff Ed Prieto’s Animal Control Services division.

One of the fighting roosters seized in a raid of a Dunnigan-area cockfighting site. (Courtesy of Yolo County District Attorney's office)Attorney's office)

One of the fighting roosters seized in a raid of a Dunnigan-area cockfighting site. (Courtesy of Yolo County District Attorney’s office)Attorney’s office)

“Cockfighting is inhumane and cruel to the roosters and is also a costly nuisance to any county,” said Prieto. “In addition to the time it takes to arrest, book and investigate the offenders, counties must impound and care for the birds until certain timelines are met and the birds are ultimately euthanized.”

The D.A.’s office has reported that officers interrupting the cockfighting event found about 90 birds being raised on Ponce’s property, and had to euthanize some of the injured birds at the scene.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Steve Marschke

Steve Marschke