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Kent man charged with cockfighting - Developing story

King County prosecutors have charged a 37-year-old Kent man as well as three other men for animal fighting in connection with reported illegal cockfighting operations in Kent and Auburn.

Antonio Montiel Flores, of Kent, faces a charge that on or about Nov. 12 he did knowingly own, possess, keep, breed, train, buy, sell, advertise or offer for sale a rooster (also known as a cock or male chicken) with the intent that the rooster be engaged in a fighting exhibition with another rooster, according to charging papers.

Willie Manuel Castro, 66, of Enumclaw, and Godofredo J. Ramac, 74, of Seabeck, face the same charge as Flores in connection with an Aug. 15 incident. Prosecutors filed the charges Dec. 31 against Flores, Castro and Ramac.

The three men are not in custody. Each man has received a summons to appear for arraignment in King County Superior Court Jan. 13 at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

In a separate, unrelated case, prosecutors charged Lazaro Murillo-Flores, 34, of Auburn, with animal fighting in connection with a Dec. 11 incident at rental property he owns in Kent in the 12700 block of Southeast Kent-Kangley Road.

Murillo-Flores is not in custody, but has been ordered to appear in court for arraignment Jan. 13 in Kent.

In the first case, Castro, Ramac and Flores reportedly were among about a dozen men Aug. 15 at a temporary cockfighting arena set up at the Muckleshoot Indian Reservation in Auburn.

A man walking his dog called police to report cockfighting going on along Stuck River Drive at about 11 a.m. Aug. 15. Officers from the King County Sheriff's Office, the Auburn Police and King County Animal Control arrived at the scene and found a few dozen birds in the cages of several vehicles parked near a portable arena.

Animal Control officers took 36 of the birds into custody. Each had its crown removed, which is consistent with illegal cock fighting, according to court documents.

On Nov. 12, Animal Control officers and the Kent Police executed a search warrant at the home of Flores in the 27200 block of 116th Place Southeast.

The officers found numerous cages, bird carriers and cock fighting magazines and photos. The officers impounded 10 cocks that were photographed, documented and later euthanized at the Kent Animal Shelter.

Flores told officers he did not know he was doing anything illegal. He said cock fighting was legal in Mexico. He said he raised the birds for a hobby and to eat them. Flores said he does send some of the birds to family members in Mexico.

In the second case, Murillo-Flores allegedly bred, kept and sold roosters to parties in Mexico with the intent that they be used for fighting, according to charging papers filed Dec. 31.

Kent Police received a report that around 3 p.m. each day the sound of chickens fighting could be heard from a boarded compound along Kent-Kangley Road.

Officers found pens that held about 50 birds. Animal Control officers arrived and counted 31 cocks that had their leg spurs and combs surgically removed.

The removal of the combs lessens the opportunity for injury and sight impairment during a fight, according to court documents. The leg spurs are trimmed to shorten the natural leg spur in order to attach sharp blades used to inflict injury or death to another bird during a fight.

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