Cockfighting conviction in northern Yolo

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 26, 2014 —

A Dunnigan man was sentenced to 20 days in county jail and three years probation for operating a cockfighting operation on his property. That sentence was passed down last week for 63-year old Lorenzo Pena Ponce, who was found guilty by a jury last month for permitting cockfighting on his premises, owning game birds with intent to fight, and possession of gaffs – the knives or blades attached to the legs of fighting roosters.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig’s office said the charges resulted from a sheriff’s department visit to the northern Yolo County property in February of 2013. Responding deputies found what they estimated to be 70 people enjoying the “blood sport.”

“After dozens of participants ran away, deputies located a barn containing a fighting pit where roosters continued to fight,” reports the D.A.’s office. “The Sheriff’s Animal Control Division arrived shortly afterwards to assist. Many of the roosters found on scene were dead or had to be euthanized due to the inhumane treatment. Deputies also found gambling paraphernalia, gaffs, and vitamin B  shots. . . There were nearly 90 roosters being raised on the premises for cockfighting.”

Ponce was also convicted of cockfighting crimes on his property after a 2005 incident.

The District Attorney’s Office is demanding $106,235 from Ponce for costs to the County for impoundment, care, and euthanasia of the birds taken from his property.  Ponce contested that amount at sentencing, and a restitution hearing is scheduled before Judge Maguire on April 11.

In a press statement, District Attorney Reisig denounced the “sport” of cockfighting:

“Along with inhumane treatment of the birds, cockfighting often involves illegal wagering of thousands of dollars, firearms and other weapons,” said Reisig.  “Cockfighting is not a sport.  It’s a crime.”

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

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