Animal Services rehabs fighting roosters
By Nina Hernandez,
9:00AM, Sun. Mar. 6, 2016
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.
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.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512/978-0500 to find out more.