A police officer in the Philippines was killed Monday by a fighting rooster while breaking up an illegal cockfight. Lieutenant Christine Bolok bled to death after his femoral artery was sliced open by cut in the left thigh.
“I could not believe it,” his police chief Colonel Arnel Apud told AFP. “This is the first time in my 25 years as a policeman that I lost a man due to a fighting cock’s spur.”
Bolok had been working to break up a fight in the central province of Northern Samar when he picked up a fighting rooster and its gaff, which is a sharp steel blade fixed to the fighting rooster’s leg, caught him in the leg. He was rushed to the hospital and declared dead on arrival.
Three people were arrested following the incident, and three suspects remain at large. Seven fighting roosters, two sets of gaff and 550 Philippine Pesos, or about $11, was confiscated.
Cockfighting is a popular sport in the Philippines, and legal in certain circumstances. Fights must occur in licensed cockpits, and only allowed on Sundays and holidays, as well as during local celebrations, and can last a maximum of three days, BBC News reported.
However, the practice has been temporarily banned amid the coronavirus pandemic, as a way to curb gatherings of large crowds that often bet on the outcome of the fights, which are usually to the death.
Cockfighting is illegal in the United States, and is a felony offense in many states. A remote compound in Los Angeles County, however, made headlines in 2017 when 7,000 birds were seized in what authorities called the largest cockfighting cache in U.S. history.
The practice is condemned by animal rights organizations including the ASPCA and the Humane Society for reasons of animal cruelty.