The Fate of The Cockfighting Roosters

(Transcription of a speech Sergeant Johnson gave at the Amherst Common)

Hello everyone. I’ve got news. It’s about all those roosters, the ones we saved from the illegal animal fighting ring in Northampton, and the same ones that have been causing a ruckus downtown. When we originally made the bust, they were nearly all injured and badly so. Because of this, we took it upon ourselves to distribute them across major animal treatment facilities in the pioneer valley.

Unfortunately these roosters have a mean streak in them. As victims of the conditioning of their tragic lives in Ravenwold Greenhouses, their nature was to fight with the veterinarians trying to help them. They caused serious trouble while veterinarians tried administering medicines, vaccines, and other forms of care. In a few cases, the roosters escaped their places of keeping and brought their ingrained anger to our townspeople.

We did capture the escaped roosters. However, this was not before they did harm, harm enough to motivate veterinarians to refuse to house the violent creatures any longer. Realizing that these roosters were not fit for regular care, we at UMass PD were forced to transport them to our jail cells in our station.

These jail cells are intended to house people we arrest temporarily until we determine what to do with them next. Rarely does an individual stay for more than 24 or 36 hours.

Approximately 400 roosters have saturated our cells for two weeks, cells compartmentalized by milk crates. And I am here to say that we cannot keep these roosters much longer, not without squeezing closed a bottleneck our usual system of fighting crime in Amherst. Bottom line is, we need the space for the bad guys. Without it, we let the bad guys run free.

Furthermore, animal psychologists have informed us that these roosters are permanently conditioned for violence. No matter what rehabilitation we provide to them, they will always attack anything in sight. Science says there is no hope to change these battered birds, so unfortunately, their story will end a tragic one.

Everybody, we will be sending these roosters through a euthanasia program starting next week. Although sad, it is for the best for us, for them, and all creatures in the area. Although it is not a happy decision, it is a necessary one.

Because there are so many of these roosters, it will take some time to put each of them to rest. But we estimate that in four weeks these unchangeably dangerous birds will be safely six feet under. Amherst will be safe, and these birds can rest easy.

For more articles by Tom Johnson, click here. To get in touch with this writer, email


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