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Press Release

Fresno Gamecock Breeder Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — Thomas Lee Crow, 49, of Fresno, was sentenced today for aiding and abetting an unlawful animal fighting venture involving a large cockfighting enterprise to two years in prison and a 10-year ban on possessing or owning any animals, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

After hearing from an animal cruelty expert from the Humane Society, U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill stated: “This is nothing short of a case of animal torture. His animals were treated without compassion.” Crow was fined $5,500 in addition to agreeing to the forfeiture of $22,800. Fresno County Sheriff’s Office will receive $6,278 of the forfeited funds to pay for the cost of disposal of the fighting roosters.

Crow’s sentence follows his guilty plea earlier this year. According to court documents, law enforcement officers searched Crow’s rural Fresno residential property last year after he was found at a large cockfighting event in Kerman. Cockfighting is illegal under federal law and in all 50 states. At the cockfight, Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies and detectives recovered 129 fighting roosters, including 28 dead and nine injured roosters. Crow was in possession of $22,800 in cash, along with a scoresheet that tracked the winnings for 144 gamecocks expected to fight that evening. They also found cockfighting equipment, such as knives used for cockfighting called slashers, sheaths, mounting boots, and scales. During the search of Crow’s residence, officers found an additional 200 fighting roosters and items associated with cockfighting, including 293 slashers; injectable stimulants, such as “Pure Aggression,” and scoresheets used for cockfighting derbies. The officers also found personalized leg bands in Crow’s name for sponsoring his birds in cockfighting events.

This case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Central California SPCA. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen A. Escobar prosecuted the case.

Updated February 27, 2024

Animal Welfare
Press Release Number: 1:17-cr-242 LJO