Brutal underground cockfighting continues in spite of state ban

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Public's help needed to crack down

PHOENIX - It is an underground crime whose victims are animals.

For years Arizona did nothing to fight cockfighting but after outlawing it 10 years ago, it seems the practice is still alive and well.

One of the first big stories 3TV's Mike Watkiss ever did in the State of Arizona was an undercover expos on cockfighting in the early 1990s. Since then the state has outlawed the practice but just because it has gone underground does not mean that it has gone away.

Stacie Dabolt, from the Arizona Humane Society, says, "It's really hard to find it."

In secret out-of-the-way places and in neighborhood where they do not always call the cops, the ancient blood sport of cockfighting is alive and well here in Arizona.

In the just the last two months, two large alleged cockfighting operations were busted in the Valley,

"People should care because it's an extremely violent sport," admits Dabolt. It is an outlawed sport in Arizona and one where razor-sharp blades are strapped to the bird's legs before they fight furious and bloody battles that sometimes end quickly but sometimes drag on and on.

The owner's often blow hot breath into the back of the birds' necks to keep them from going in to shock and the loser is then unceremoniously dispatched into the garbage can, while the winner, the so-called champion is strapped down to a table to be sewn back together and perhaps fight another day.

"Once they get into a fighting situation it's extremely brutal and they suffer andif they don't win their fight, they'll be killed or buried alive or burned. It's an extremely violent sport as far as the birds are concerned," explains Dabolt.

Officials tell 3TV they need the public's help to stop it because the practitioners of this kind of sport know that secrecy is their ally and really keep it under wraps.