Cockfighting nets arrest in Union County, sheriff says

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UPDATE 06/18/19: This story has been updated to reflect that the warrant for the second person who was previously named by deputies has been recalled.

Union County Sheriff David Taylor said two other suspects have been detained and charged.


UNION COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Union County sheriff’s deputies said video shows an illegal cockfighting operation that’s led to an arrest.

“We get a lot of complaints on chicken fighting – cockfighting – it’s hard to catch,” said Union County Sheriff David Taylor.

He said on June 5 an animal control officer got video from a concerned citizen that was taken on May 25.

He said the video is from a home on Fairmont Street.

A report said the chickens were fighting each other while men stood around in a circle and did not try separating them during the first 30 seconds of the video.

“During that conversation they continued to say ‘I’ve also seen them fighting on June the 5th,’” the sheriff said.

“Through the video we’ve been able to identify two of the people,” Taylor said.

One of those people – Jerry Whitehead Jr. – was charged with animal cruelty and the sheriff said two other people were arrested and charged Tuesday.

Deputies also searched the house.

“It was early in the morning,” said Edward Boulware who lives nearby. “Took his incubator and his chickens and his pens. I think they did him wrong. No chicken was hurt or nothin’.”

The sheriff says in addition to chickens, eggs, and an incubator they found 310 grams of marijuana, which Whitehead is also charged for.

“Usually when you see dog fighting, chicken fighting – or cockfighting – whatever you want to call it, you’ll find some type of drug or drug paraphernalia,” Taylor said. “It’s kinda like cake and ice cream.”

As the chickens sat at the Union County Animal Shelter, Sheriff Taylor said he wants to remind people that they can report these crimes anonymously.

“Usually they fight to the death, there’s illegal disposal of dead chickens, dead dogs,” Taylor said. “It’s not just fighting chickens or fighting dogs, you’ve got all the other parameters that go along with that so nobody wants that in their neighborhood.”

Deputies are working to identify the third male seen in the video.

The sheriff said there’s a hearing Tuesday to see what happens to the chickens that were seized.

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