TUKWILA, Wash. — Dozens of chickens are safe, and their 75-year-old owner is now charged with a felony after a cockfighting ring was busted in Tukwila last month.

Q13 News reports Animal Control officers said they rescued nearly 70 birds from a vacant property owned by Romero Rivera.

Many of the roosters had their spurs trimmed, a common practice done to attach fighting instruments.

Rivera told police that he didn’t fight roosters himself, but he did in the past. He is accused of breeding and training the birds for fights.

Rivera also told police that he knows about a local cockfighting club, but he wouldn’t give details because they’re his friends and “it’s a brotherhood.”

According to court documents, Rivera confessed to mailing the chickens to California, where a licensed shipper would pick them up and send the roosters to the Philippines. Cockfighting is legal in the Philippines, but illegal in all 50 states and a felony offense in 42 states here at home.

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