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San Diego County cock fighting ordinance

The Issue

In 2007, San Diego County had the largest cockfighting arrest and seizure in the nation. Over 5,000 roosters were confiscated. The proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border makes San Diego a prime location for this illegal and inhumane use of roosters. In 2011 the County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that outlined the number of birds that could be housed on a property. Future Farmers of America and 4-H were exempt from the ordinance. Operators enrolled their children or grandchildren in 4-H poultry projects to avoid the ordinance and prosecution.

What Has ANR Done?

UC Cooperative Extension 4-H staff in San Diego County worked with animal control officers to bring together an advisory group of poultry volunteers. The group worked on possible solutions to address the exemption that would not limit 4-H poultry members' participation. An addendum to the California 4-H Member Code of Conduct was developed. Poultry members will report the numbers of hens and roosters for each breed. They indicate the length of their project. It is the member’s responsibility to submit and update the form, as numbers change. A 4-H poultry leader and a staff member must sign the form and 4-H members must maintain and present the form if animal control staff contacts them.

The Payoff

New cockfight ordinance

With 4-H staff and volunteer input, the San Diego Board of Supervisors adopted a new cockfighting ordinance. The San Diego Poultry Project Addendum to Code of Contact provides support for animal control officers to prosecute cockfighting operators while not dictating the number of roosters 4-H members can have on their properties. It protects 4-H’s good name and reinforces the fact that our program supports the humane treatment of all poultry.


Supporting Unit: San Diego County

Sue Manglallan, 4-H Youth and Family Development Advisor, (858) 822-7773, ssmanglallan@ucanr.edu