According to Animal Wellness Action, Chance Campo, District Director of the Oklahoma Gamefowl Commission, was charged alongside seven others by Carter County prosecutors with felony offenses relating to illegal cockfighting while four others face misdemeanor charges.
According to court documents, nearly 200 people were inside a barn in Carter County when deputies arrived on scene.
“The Carter County Sheriff’s Office got tip that there was a fight occurring at this venue,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy. “Sheriff’s deputies went to that venue, found that the fight was occurring right then and they interceded.”
Court records indicate deputies saw people running from the barn and hiding in nearby woods. One man, Son Phuoc Nguyen, was arrested after he was seen trying to get away with a rooster in his arms. The rooster was wearing “gaffs” which are blades on the bird’s legs. The man’s box truck was confiscated. Inside deputies found cockfighting cages, birds, and equipment.
Records show deputies also found several dead or near-dead roosters inside the building.
Around $15,000 in cash and other vehicles were seized.
Pacelle told KFOR he was not surprised someone from the Oklahoma Gamefowl Commission was arrested during the incident.
“Mr. Campo’s arrest only confirms what we’ve long known: people involved in the Oklahoma Gamefowl Commission are cockfighters and they are intent on gutting a key state anti-cruelty the law so they can avoid legal jeopardy for their felonious activities,” said Pacelle.
Officials say during the 2023 legislative session, Animal Wellness Action and Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) released information regarding those behind the Commission leading an organized cockfighting network in Oklahoma.
The animal-welfare groups say they supported that claim by showing footage of the gamecock farms and Commission leaders, including videos allegedly promoting their efforts and participation at cockfighting events, as well as evidence of shipments of gamecocks, price lists, and more.
“Cockfighters know they cannot convince lawmakers to legalize staged animal fighting and to overturn a vote of the people,” said Steve Hindi, president of SHARK. “They are pretending to be something they are not, and even making George Santos blush with their tall tales.”
House Bill 2530, which would reduce the punishment for cockfighting, passed the House in March on a title strike through, but neither that bill nor Senate Bill 1006 were ever voted on in the Senate, Animal Wellness Action says.