Rooster Re-Coop

Animal Services rehabs fighting roosters

On Valentine’s Day, the Travis County Sheriff’s Department called the Austin Animal Center about cockfighting ring out in Webberville.

During the raid, more than 30 roosters were recovered, though several of those were already dead and more would have to be euthanized because their wounds were too severe. When all was said and done, 26 roosters were transported to the center and have been waiting out a holding period.

photo by nina hernandez
A rooster awaiting the fight, which was interrupted by the Sheriff's Department (courtesy of animal services)

Kristen Auerbach, deputy chief Animal Services officer, said even in just the past few years roosters in this situation would have been either euthanized or slaughtered for meat. That’s not the case here. Animal Services staff is working to place all 26 in new homes.

“People don’t imagine that a rooster that’s been used for fighting could ever be an affectionate pet or live kind of a normal life,” Auerbach said. “But we were really surprised when they came into our care how easy they were to handle. Even affectionate towards people. They’ll push their head into you when you pet them.”

Animal Protection Supervisor Mark Sloat has been widely documented caring for these roosters. He's been teaching them to walk on a leash. Because they've been bred and socialized to fight, they are remarkably comfortable with humans. Auerbach and Sloat stress that potential new homes would have to be committed to acclimating the roosters into a new environment. They will, Sloat said, be wary of other birds to start out.

The fighting pit (courtesy of animal services)
Animal Protection Supervisor Mark Sloat and Randy the rooster (photo by nina hernandez)

“I don’t know if some of them will ever be able to be around other roosters, but some of these are going to make great pets,” Sloat said. “Because they’re used to being handled. Randy’s been out a few times, but he’s only been on this tether once before.”

Auerbach noted that there’s no ordinance prohibiting owning a rooster in the city limits. Those worried about noise complaints will be supplied with an anti-crowing collar. These roosters can also, she said, be great in single-pet households. No chickens necessary.

“The response from the community has just been amazing, and we’re just so appreciative that every time we ask for help the community is there to help us and support us. It’s how we do this. We could not keep Austin no-kill without the people in Austin.”

The roosters will be available for adopting (at no cost) starting Tue., March 8. Thinking about adopting? Email animal.rescue@austintexas.gov or call 512/978-0500 to find out more.

Deputy Chief Animal Services Officer Kristen Auerbach holds Randy (photo by nina hernandez)

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Animal Shelter
Woman Dies in Manor Dog Attack
Woman Dies in Manor Dog Attack
Six adult, mixed breeds are in quarantine at the Austin Animal Center

Nina Hernandez, June 16, 2016

Cats in Crisis
Cats in Crisis
Shelters full of felines waiting for forever homes

Jordan Smith, July 19, 2013

More Animal Welfare
Austin Aquarium Manager Sent to Federal Shark Tank
Austin Aquarium Manager Sent to Federal Shark Tank
Covino gets a year behind bars

Jordan Smith, Dec. 4, 2013

Just Say No to Austin Aquarium
Just Say No to Austin Aquarium
Rally at proposed aquarium site planned for Saturday

Jordan Smith, Aug. 30, 2013

More by Nina Hernandez
Indoor Skydiving Lets You Train Your Dragon in Virtual Reality
Indoor Skydiving Lets You Train Your Dragon in Virtual Reality
Taking to the skies with iFly's latest immersive VR

March 27, 2019

New Study Changes City Council's View of Flood Risk
New Study Changes City Council's View of Flood Risk
Puzzling over a variance on Avenue D, and spending the first of the 2018 bond funds

March 15, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare, roosters, cockfighting, Animal Services, Austin Animal Center, Travis County Sheriff's Department, roosters austin, Austin Animal Shelter, rooster rescue

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle