FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 3, 2014
Two Men Receive Fines and Probation for Being Spectators at a Cockfighting Operation in Ontario
Two men were fined $2,740 each and sentenced to one year probation for being spectators at a cockfighting operation in Ontario.
The sentence was passed down for 41-year-old Arnold Mangubat of Yucaipa and 71-year-old Rodolfo Porlas of Roland Heights, who were both convicted of one count each of Knowing Presence as Spectator for Animal Fighting (PC 597c).
According to Deputy District Attorney Debbie Ploghaus, who prosecuted the case, the charges resulted from an August 2012 incident when officers from Ontario Police Department received an anonymous phone call that a cockfight was in progress.
“When officers arrived they witnessed dozens of people running away and several vehicles speeding off from the location,” Ploghaus said.
Shortly afterwards, officers identified approximately 10 areas that could have been used as makeshift cockfighting arenas.
Cockfighting is a barbaric form of animal cruelty that pits two gamecocks against each other in fights to the death.
Cockfighters breed gamecock for maximum aggression. The birds fight with razor-sharp knives or gaffs resembling curved ice picks strapped to their legs. These weapons cause painful injuries such as punctured lungs, gouged-out eyes, and broken limbs.
Following the initial discovery, Mangubat and Porlas were arrested and charged with being spectators at a cockfight.
Animal Control Officers arrived and counted 2,278 birds. Approximately two-thirds of the birds were identified as gamecock.
“The gamecocks were individually housed and a large portion of them were dubbed and trimmed,” Ploghaus said. “All of the birds were humanely euthanized.”
Dubbing is a common practice among game breeders who use birds for fighting in which they remove the comb and wattles of the bird with scissors or some other cutting tool. Doing so makes prevents sight impairment during a fight, and it makes more difficult for an opponent to latch onto the bird. It is also said to reduce the risk of bleeding and injury during a fight.
Trimming is the act of shortening the natural leg spur of the bird in order to attach sharp blades (also known as gaffs) which are used to inflict injury or death to another bird during a fight.
Two other convicted defendants include Gary Omotoy, 70, of Montclair, and Steven Villarin, 57, of Corona. Both men came to the location the next day, and admitted to owning several of the gamecock. Both men claimed their gamecocks were pets and not used for fighting.
Omotoy and Villarin were found guilty of one count each of Possession of Gamecock with Intent to Fight Not Transporting an Animal (597j(a)). Both men are scheduled to be sentenced May 9, 2014, in Rancho Cucamonga Superior Court.
Any suspected organized animal fighting should be reported to local law enforcement.
April is Animal Cruelty Prevention Month
To view a video produced by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office that contains undercover footage of cockfighting visit: http://youtu.be/E57h2egfIAg. Due to the violent nature of the content, please note that it has been deemed inappropriate for some users.
For more information about cockfighting, visit the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Animal Cruelty Task Force.