Fighting chickens get the death penalty

LIHU’E — The fate of 26 roosters seized at a Lawa’i cockfight in March was decided Thursday.

Judge Kathleen Watanabe granted a motion to euthanize the roosters now housed at the Kauai Humane Society’s shelter on Kaumuali’i Highway outside Puhi.

Watanabe asked county Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tracy Murakami if the euthanization method to be used is humane. Murakami indicated that it is.

Murakami also pointed out that law-enforcement officials do not want the roosters to be used again at cockfights.

According to court records, the roosters will be injected with an overdose of sodium pentobarbital.

After being injected, the birds will go immediately unconscious, and their breathing and hearts will stop within minutes, wrote Dr. Rebecca “Becky” Rhoades, executive director of the Kaua’i Humane Society, in an affidavit.

Rhoades also pointed out that injecting the roosters with sodium pentobarbital is the most humane form of euthanasia available today.

Additionally, she pointed out that the birds cannot be housed with other birds without attacking them, and that they are not a desirable type of fowl for meat consumption.

Rhoades is a veterinarian, and has been in practice since 1986.

According to court records, Rhoades and another Kauai Humane Society employee were contacted March 26 during a Kaua’i Police Department cock-fight raid in Lawa’i.

They took 29 birds to the humane society shelter outside Puhi. Of the 29 birds, three died from injuries inflicted during cockfights that happened before the raid.

Attorneys in the county Office of the Prosecuting Attorney sent letters out to known interested parties, and ran a legal notice in the Sept. 23 edition of The Garden Island, calling on involved people to claim the birds.

No one came forward.

Society officials had been feeding and caring for the birds since they were confiscated.

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