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Animal advocates charge roosters being raised for fighting

BLACKBERRY TOWNSHIP – An animal rights advocacy group has identified a second area in Blackberry Township near Elburn where they allege about 80 roosters are being kept for cockfighting.

Steve Hindi of SHARK – Showing Animals Respect and Kindness – provided drone footage showing a series of closed hutches where roosters are kept separately from each other.

“Someone with three or four game birds may have an affinity for them. Anyone with many dozens of roosters is involved in fighting,” Hindi stated in an email. “That’s common sense. We’ve uncovered a number of these places, and they always deny it. They’re not going to just admit they’re involved in criminal activity.”

But the roosters’ owner, Gerardo Perez of Aurora, said he raises the roosters because he loves them for their beauty – not for cockfighting.

“I know nothing about that,” Perez said of the assertion that the birds are used in cockfighting. “Kane County Animal Control already checked on me. They came to check and the birds are in good condition. I like the birds. I really love the birds.”

‘Because they love roosters’

Perez took a reporter on a tour of the property he rents in the 1N300 block of Pouley Road Dec. 27, where roosters could be heard crowing. Their pens were covered in plastic sheeting to protect them from the weather, but they could be seen through small openings.

Some of the pens were doubled, where roosters were housed with chickens.

Perez has not named his roosters, except for one he calls Gallo Loco, which means Crazy Rooster in Spanish.

Some of his roosters sported brilliant colors while others were white, some with speckles of dark feathers.

“I get like 30 or 35, so I can sell 20 to 25,” Perez said. “People who buy them – because they love roosters.”

Perez said he has customers who are from the Philippines and Vietnam who buy them as show roosters.

“Vietnam people, they love American (roosters) and they send them to his country. Because the roosters from his country are not as pretty as these,” Perez said. “You guys (Americans) have the best roosters. That’s the truth.”

Perez said he knows the animal activists are trying to get a state law passed to limit the number of roosters to five.

And if that happens, he said he will have to get rid of most of his roosters.

So for now, Perez said he takes care of them, feeds them every day, uses composted manure from the property owner’s horses as extra insulation to keep the birds warm when it’s cold outside.

Too many roosters

But for SHARK, Perez’s statements and those of another rooster-keeper, also in Blackberry Township, are not believable.

In June, Janet Enoch, a humane investigator for the Illinois Department of Agriculture and SHARK, spoke to the Kane County Development Committee about more than 100 roosters that were being kept on a property on Main Street Road.

“I’ve seen such facilities before in other parts of the country and this is only done for fighting cocks,” Enoch had said then. “There is no reason to be raising large quantities of roosters.”

Hindi and Enoch compare raising roosters or dogs for fighting to manufacturing illegal drugs for sale. While dogfighting and cockfighting is illegal, raising the animals for that purpose is not. They say both should be illegal, just like it’s illegal both to manufacture methamphetamine and sell it.

That property’s owner, Edward Dembrowski, also denied that his roosters were being raised for cockfighting. Dembrowski said most of the roosters were being boarded there, the same as one would board a horse at a stable.

Dembrowski had said he was getting out of the rooster business and moving south to retire. Since them, new drone video from SHARK showed no more roosters on the property.

Enoch said she has been talking to State Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, about legislation to limit the number of roosters that can be kept on a property. The county is stymied by state law, which restricts its jurisdiction of agricultural activities on parcels that are 5 acres or more.

California enacted legislation to limit the number of roosters to three, and any more than that would require a permit, she had said at the committee meeting.

Dembrowski’s property was nearly nine acres. While the parcel on Pouley Road that has Perez’s roosters is 4.86 acres, it is contiguous with another parcel that is 5 acres, according to Kane County property records.

A voice mail message left at Wheeler’s district office was not returned.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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