Clinton Township man charged with animal cruelty in cockfighting

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) —  The Capital Area Humane Society has filed animal cruelty charges against Elman Conrrado Marroquin Armana after agents seized nine birds and other paraphernalia related to cockfighting.

Agents say they received a complaint that approximately 40 roosters were being kept at 2288 Ferris Rd in Clinton Township and were being used for cockfighting. When agents and Clinton Township police raided the home they found nine live birds, two dead birds, sparring muffs, spurs with sharp blades and traveling boxes typically used to transport gamecocks to cockfighting derbies.

Clinton Township police Lt. Anthony Pfeifer says the township will also file misdemeanor charges of possession of criminal tools. He said this was a first for him. “I’ve been doing this job for 35 years and this is the first time I’ve ever worked,” Pfeiffer said. “A search warrant for chickens. It was really a shocker.”

Investigators say they did not find a cockfighting pit at the home.

In Ohio, animal cruelty is a fourth degree misdemeanor. Humane agent Elysse Rathbone believes that should change. “It is a violent bloodsport,” Rathbone said. “Animals are dying in the process of this. It’s very violent. It’s a labor intensive investigation. It’s something we pour lots of time and energy into and a fourth degree misdemeanor is a very low threshold.”

During this past legislative session, state lawmakers considered a bill to add the possibility of felony charges in such cases. The bill passed the House of Representatives but never had a hearing in the Senate. The bill will likely be reintroduced next year.

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