Crime

Kansas City animal control seizes 134 birds in cockfighting investigation

An investigation of an alleged cockfighting ring in Kansas City led to the expected seizure Wednesday of 134 roosters and other chickens at a pair of locations on Cypress Avenue, according to city officials.

Kansas City animal control officers were in the process of seizing the birds Wednesday afternoon in the 2400 block of Cypress Avenue, said John Baccala, a spokesman for the city's Neighborhoods and Housing Services department. Kansas City police were also at the scene.

Teresa Johnson, executive director of the KC Pet Project animal shelter, said she expects the roughly 100 birds to be brought to the animal shelter on Friday.

The group of birds is thought to include at least 38 roosters along with dozens of hens and chicks, Johnson said.

Johnson said it was the largest group of chickens she could remember the shelter taking in, though it is not uncommon for the KC Pet Project to receive the birds in smaller groups.

"We don't have anything of this magnitude," Johnson said. "We've never really seen a large seizure of this size at our shelter before."

At first, the shelter had expected to receive the birds immediately Wednesday but plans have changed, Johnson said. Instead, a contractor hired by the city that regularly deals with horses and cows will take the birds for a couple of days.

That will give the KC Pet Project time to prepare before the birds are brought to the shelter Friday, she said.

That will mean stocking up on chicken wire and chicken food.

"We don't have any setup to have 100 birds come to us with no notice," Johnson said. "We're basically set up for cats and dogs."

Johnson said the long-term fate of the birds remains to be sorted out as the investigation runs its course. It's possible they could be put up for adoption if they aren't returned to an owner.

In the meantime, members of the public can help the KC Pet Project care for the birds— and their other animals — by donating at kcpetproject.org.

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