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BC SPCA, RCMP execute raid for possible cockfighting ring at Surrey farm

Raid on Surrey farm over alleged cockfighting ring
Exclusive: BC SPCA and RCMP officers conducted a raid over cockfighting allegations at a Surrey farm. Catherine Urquhart reports.

A possible cockfighting ring at a Surrey farm is being investigated by the BC SPCA.

Several peace officers with the SPCA along with B.C. RCMP officers descended on a farm in the 16600-block of 50 Avenue Saturday morning.

Marcie Moriarty with the BC SPCA confirmed the warrant was being executed in connection to an offence related to cockfighting.

READ MORE: 3,000 birds rescued in New York cockfighting takedown

In an update Sunday, Moriarty said no birds were seized, but other evidence was found and is being processed. She would not say what that evidence is.

“At this stage, it is too early to identify individuals or specific recommendation for charges, but should charges be recommended and approved, we will provide an update,” she said in an email.

RCMP would not comment on the investigation.

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Cockfighting is a brutal blood sport in which roosters fight each other to death. It’s illegal in Canada and can lead to animal cruelty charges, which carry a maximum penalty of five years in jail.

Jody Wilson-Raybould thanks opposition on question of animal cruelty
Jody Wilson-Raybould thanks opposition on question of animal cruelty

In 2008, five B.C. men faced animal cruelty charges after the SPCA raided three separate properties in Cloverdale — the scene of the largest cockfighting operation ever discovered in Canada.

More than 1,200 birds that were seized in the investigation all had to be put down.

Authorities in that case found five fighting pits and fighting birds tethered to barrels at one property, and a wide range of paraphernalia associated with cockfighting on the other two properties.

READ MORE: BC SPCA urging public support of federal bill defining bestiality, cracking down on animal fighting

The evidence included spurs or gaffs that are used to slash opponents, scorecards to record wins and losses, needles and medications used on injured birds.

At that time, the maximum penalty for animal cruelty offences related to cockfighting was six months in prison or a $2,000 fine and a two-year ban on owning animals.

In 2018, then-attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould introduced C-84 to strengthen the Criminal Code against animal fighting and bestiality, including raising the maximum prison sentence to five years.

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It was given royal assent this past June.

—With files from the Canadian Press