Crime & Courts

Men accused of pitting chickens in fights to the death

This cockfighting photo was taken in March 2002.
This cockfighting photo was taken in March 2002. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

Four men were arrested on felony cockfighting charges after Rowan County sheriff’s investigators uncovered evidence of chickens being pitted against each other in fights to the death.

Up to 20 men ran into the woods after deputies responded to a 911 call about chicken-fighting at a home in the 600 block of Geneva Drive in Rockwell on Saturday afternoon, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday.

At the back of the home, deputies saw several chickens tied to the rear of vehicles in a fenced area covered with a tarp. They found blood, feathers and numerous dead chickens. Numerous live chickens were in nearby cages.

Deputies collected razor spurs that are put on chickens during fights, scales, event tracking sheets and a record book, an electronic time clock, ID straps, scissors and rolls of sticky twine.

Rowan County Animal Control collected at least 30 live chickens that were either tied up or in cages near a fighting ring, and at least 15 dead chickens.

Four men were arrested on cockfighting charges, including the homeowner, Victor Manuel Garcia, 37. The others were Manuel Villa Ocampo, 36, of Charlotte; Marcial Clemente Rodriguez, 35, of Concord; and Rogelio Leonardo Calderas, 44, of Candor.

They were jailed on $1,500 bail and have first court appearances scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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