Animal rights group responds to cockfighting ring bust

On Saturday, BCSO received an anonymous tip about a cockfighting operation in southern Bexar County. Law enforcement arrested a man and cited 50 bystanders.

SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County man arrested over the weekend on charges of facilitating cockfighting activities has now been released.

Meanwhile, an animal advocacy group is pushing for legislative change that would strengthen laws to end such illegal activity.

“Organized animal fighting is barbaric,” said Wayne Basile, president of Animal Wellness Action. “We are working to upgrade the laws, and we are working to make sure that these laws are enforced and that we all have a record.”

On Saturday, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office followed up on an anonymous tip and raided a rental property in the 26000 block of Sand Cliff Drive. Authorities arrested Paul Junior Morales, 56, was charged with running a cockfighting operation. He faces felony charges related to cockfighting and gambling. Deputies also cited 50 spectators with third-degree misdemeanors.

Security forces seized 200 rooster, in addition to weapons and drugs.

Animal Wellness Organization is lobbying for the legislation known as Combat Law (Law Against Inhumane Gambling and High-Risk Animal Trafficking).

The bipartisan bill, introduced in 2023, would amend the Animal Welfare Act to “enhance enforcement opportunities under the law and enhance protections for animals at risk.”

“This is a federal upgrade to our National Fighting Law to give citizens a private right to take action against dog fighters and rooster fighters whose crimes are not stopped by law enforcement. It also stops the shipping of roosters through the US Postal Service,” Basile said.

Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states and U.S. territories, but Basile emphasized that such activity is still prevalent across the country and throughout Texas.

“It’s not just Bexar County. This weekend in Goliad County, 63 people were arrested in an illegal cockfighting operation,” Basile said. “Animals are put into a pit to hack each other to death. It is clear that animal fighting is often linked to drug trafficking, illegal gambling and other crimes.

Basile believes that society as a whole has a responsibility to help eradicate animal cruelty crimes.

“We have a big problem in Texas, and we need the involvement of citizens and law enforcement to solve this problem.”

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