Man stabbed by cockfighting bird

Feb. 8, 2011 at 9:35 AM
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BAKERSFIELD, Calif., Feb. 8 (UPI) -- A 35-year-old California man, Jose Luis Ochoa, has died after being stabbed in the calf by a cockfighting bird, police in Bakersfield said.

Sgt. Martin King of the Kern County Sheriff's Department said in his 24 years on the force he has never seen this type of accident, The Bakersfield Californian reported.

Cockfighting is a gambling event in which birds armed with razor-like knives on their legs fight each other, often to the death.

"This is a sport that is popular in other parts of the world, and they have brought that interest to Kern County," said Mike Constantine, public health director. "It's illegal and inhumane, but we have not seen a decline."

John Goodwin of the Humane Society of the United Sates said California is an "attractive destination" for people involved in cockfighting especially because nearby states like Oregon, Arizona and New Mexico punish the crime as a felony.

In California, cockfighting is a misdemeanor.

Goodwin said Ochoa's death is not surprising.

"It's pretty rare, but I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often considering the knives they put on those birds," he said.

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