JEROME — Deputies serving a warrant for a zoning issue Thursday came across about 170 malnourished and neglected roosters, chicks and hens, some of which are believed to be used in cockfights, a sheriff’s detective said.
The discovery was made the same day a Gooding man was in court for a preliminary hearing on a felony charge of organizing a cockfight earlier this year in Gooding County. Jose Rosario Miramontes-Tostado, 44, was bound over to district court to stand trial in that case.
The Jerome County Sheriff’s Office is withholding most details about Thursday’s discovery as they continue to investigate the situation.
“We do have suspects,” Detective David Olson said. “But nobody is in custody.”
It’s unknown if the discovery is connected in any way to the Gooding County case, Olson said.
Eighty roosters were found and later euthanized at the cockfight uncovered March 25 at a Gooding farm. More than 150 people were in attendance there, and Gooding County Prosecutor Matt Pember plans to file misdemeanor charges against some of those attendees and participants in the coming weeks.
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Jerome deputies determined the roosters found Thursday were used for cockfighting “due to other things found on scene,” Olson said, though he declined to elaborate. He said it looked like roosters were kept at the residence but did not fight there.
Olson did not have a timetable for when he expects arrests to be made or charges to be filed.
“We just have to see what happens as we process the evidence,” the detective said.
Participating in cockfights is a misdemeanor, according to Idaho law, and organizing a cockfight when drugs or gambling are involved is a felony.
But raising roosters for fighting may not be criminal.
According to the state statute: “Nothing in this section prohibits any customary practice of breeding or rearing game fowl, regardless of the subsequent uses of said game fowl.”