Valley police break up cockfight |

Valley police break up cockfight

The breakup of a cockfight Sunday morning near Gridley led to three arrests and a car accident, according to the Butte County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies were tipped off at around 9 a.m. to the event at the end of Ord Ranch Road northeast of Gridley, the department said. More than 30 people reportedly were on hand for a cockfight held in an orchard, and most fled on foot or in their vehicles.

After arresting one man at the scene, deputies detained a second man, Isaac Mesa Lopez, 32, after he tried to swim across the Feather River, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Matt Keeling.

A third arrest followed a traffic stop at 11:30 a.m. on Highway 99 north of Neal Road, when a deputy found three live roosters and cockfighting training equipment in the back seat of the vehicle.

Deputies detained Mesa Lopez, Glester Garcia Arzate, 23, and Abran Valencia, 28, on suspicion of taking part in a cockfight and cruelty to animals.

Garcia Azarte was being held Sunday night in the Butte County Jail in Oroville without bail on an immigration hold, while Mesa Lopez was booked and released. No information was available on Valencia’s status.

Butte County animal control officers called to the Ord Ranch Road orchard discovered more than 40 more live roosters, along with four birds that appeared to have died from cockfighting wounds, authorities said. Six abandoned vehicles also were found at the scene.

Fighting birds have sharpened metal spurs tied to their feet, which the animals, known as gamecocks, use to slash at their opponents in one-on-one bouts until one bird is killed or incapacitated.

The centuries-old blood sport has been outlawed nationwide, with Louisiana the last state to impose a ban, in 2008.

In California, participating in or knowingly attending a cockfight is a crime.

Howard Yune is a staff writer for the Marysville Appeal Democrat.

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