Woman accused of involvement in rooster fighting

OKEECHOBEE — A 28-year-old Okeechobee woman was arrested Friday morning for her alleged involvement of fighting or baiting animals.

Dominga Ascencio Baltazar-Saucedo, Northwest 98th Street, was arrested April 27 on 25 counts of felony charge of baiting, breeding, training, transporting, selling, owning, possessing, or using any wild or domestic animal for the purpose of animal fighting or baiting. Her bond was set at $25,000.

Dominga Ascencio Baltazar-Saucedo, 28

According to an arrest report by Deputy Bryan Holden, of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), on April 10 he responded to a residence in the 200 block of Northwest 98th Street in regards to a burglary complaint.

The house belonged to Baltazar-Saucedo, who called in the burglary, according to herself and the Okeechobee County Property Appraiser’s website. Baltazar-Saucedo reportedly asked the sheriff’s office deputy to come onto the property to investigate.

The report stated that while Deputy Holden investigated the burglary he saw numerous roosters in individual pens with their combs (fleshy growth at the top of the head) and wattles (fleshy growths below the chin) removed from their heads. Deputy Holden reported an estimated 25-30 roosters were in the pens, combs and wattles removed and spurs trimmed.

Deputy Holden’s report stated that due to his training and experience in classes sponsored by the Florida Agriculture Crime Intelligence Unit, he identified it as common practice for those engaged in rooster fighting to remove the combs and wattles due to the amount of blood that can be lost while injured in the fight and to avoid the obscuring the rooster’s vision from the blood.

The report further noted that people who engage in rooster fighting are known to trim the rooster’s spurs so that a knife-like apparatus can be mounted that allows the rooster to fully penetrate its opponent, unlike the rooster’s natural spurs. Deputy Holden reported taking photos of several roosters before returning to the burglary investigation.

Deputy Holden’s report included the opinion of an individual who graduated with a bachelors degree in Poultry Science from North Carolina State University and is currently employed by Cal-Maine Foods Poultry Farm. The person said that in his professional opinion there was no other reason for someone to remove the combs, wattles and clip the spurs on roosters other than for the purpose of fighting.

The report concluded that a search warrant was applied for the residence and curtilage.

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