Man facing felony charge after cockfighting ring busted in Tukwila

TUKWILA, Wash. -- A 75-year-old man is now charged with a felony after a cockfighting ring was busted in Tukwila last month.

Animal Control officers said they rescued nearly 70 birds from a vacant property at 12017 44th Ave S. owned by Romero Rivera.

Many of the roosters had their spurs trimmed, a common practice done to attach fighting instruments. Two of the roosters' wattles and combs were also dubbed, a practice Rivera said was used to make the birds lighter for weigh-in.

Rivera told police that he didn't fight roosters himself, but he did in the past. He is accused of breeding and training the birds for fights.

Rivera also told police that he knows about a local cockfighting club, but he wouldn't give details because they're his friends and "it's a brotherhood."

According to court documents, Rivera confessed to mailing the chickens to California, where a licensed shipper would pick them up and send the roosters to the Philippines. Cockfighting is legal in the Philippines, but illegal in all 50 states and a felony offense in 42 states here at home.

Rivera's arraignment is set for Aug. 22.