GENEVA – Humane investigator Janet Enoch spoke at the June 18 Kane County Development meeting to seek more regulation of how many roosters can be kept on a single property to discourage raising them for cockfighting.
In particular, Enoch was targeting a nearly nine-acre property in Blackberry Township near Elburn that has more than 100 roosters individually chained to small huts or in cages. Their conditions were revealed through a video taken by drone.
“While the rooster operation is easily viewed from the air, it is very carefully set up so they cannot be observed from any public road,” Enoch said. “In our experience, there is only one reason to raise this many roosters and to hold them in this environment, and that is for cockfighting.”
Enoch, a humane investigator for the Illinois Department of Agriculture and SHARK, SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness, based in Geneva, said she has seen cases of people raising large numbers of pit bulls in a similar fashion – individually chained to a shelter or hut.
“We recently had a case in Will County where an individual had 60 pit bulls,” Enoch said. “Each was individually chained to a small shelter.”
But once an investigator went to the house to ask about the dogs, the owner and the pit bulls disappeared, Enoch said.
Cockfighting and dogfighting are felonies in Illinois, Enoch said, but people are still allowed to raise fighting dogs or fighting cocks.
“Those involved in cockfighting and dogfighting are also involved in other illegal and violent activities such as armed robbery, drug trafficking, gambling, unlawful neglect of children, organized crime and other criminal behavior,” Enoch said. “This is not what we want in Kane County.”
Enoch offered sample legislation from Monterey County in California which limits to three the number of roosters that can be on a property. Any more than that would require a permit. She also offered the use of her organization’s drones to aid with enforcement, as they did in Monterey County.
But Mark VanKerkhoff, director of the Development and Community Services Department said state law restricts counties from regulating agricultural activities on parcels larger than five acres.
“We can only do what the state lets us do,” VanKerkhoff said.
Enoch met with State Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, the next day about amending state law. The state representative said he would research her proposal, she said.