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The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is set to pass a law limiting the number of roosters that an individual owner can keep. But instead of noise reduction, the law intends to target cockfighting.

The ordinance would limit property owners with less than one half acre to a single rooster, and a maximum of 20 would be allowed on parcels five acres or larger in size. “This action is another step in the right direction to combat illegal cockfighting,” offered District 2 supervisor Diane Jacobs.

The intention of the law is to make it easier for the Department of Animal Services to crack down on cockfighting in unincorporated areas of the county by allowing action to be taken against a property owner based on observations made from public property. More than 100 arrests have been made in the county since 2000 for cockfighting-related crimes.

Board chairman Bill Horn opposed the measure, saying he would instead prefer to see cockfighting (currently a misdemeanor) reclassified as a felony in California, as it is in surrounding states. It’s also a crime to attend a cockfight or to be in possession of spurs or other paraphernalia used in facilitating the matches.

“The new law will be easier to enforce because we won’t need to prove the intent of the rooster owner,” explained Dawn Danielson, director of the Department of Animal Services. The Department will also ask cities that contract for its services (San Diego, Carlsbad, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, and Santee) to pass similar measures for consistency in enforcement.

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