Crime - Sacto 911

Dunnigan man sentenced for operating cockfighting ring

A Dunnigan man has been sentenced to 20 days in jail and three years summary probation for operating an underground cockfighting ring.

A Yolo County jury in January found 63-year-old Lorenzo Pena Ponce guilty of permitting cockfighting on his premises, owning game birds with the intent to fight and possession of gaffs, sharp metal spurs that are attached to the legs of the roosters, according to a District Attorney’s Office news release.

On Feb. 16, 2013, members of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office responded to a large-scale cockfighting operation taking place on Ponce’s Dunnigan property. Deputies found approximately 70 people participating in the activity. After dozens of people fled, deputies located a barn containing a fight pit where roosters continued to fight, authorities said.

Members of the sheriff’s animal control division arrived to assist deputies. Authorities said many of the roosters found at the scene were dead or had to be euthanized because of inhumane treatment. Deputies also found gambling paraphernalia, gaffs and vitamin B shots.

Officials said nearly 90 roosters were being raised at the sight for cockfighting.

Law enforcement officers responded to a similar cockfighting incident on Ponce’s property in 2005, and Ponce was also convicted of cockfighting-related crimes in that case.

The District Attorney’s Office is requesting $106,235 from Ponce for the county’s costs for impoundment, care and euthanasia of the birds taken from his property. Officials said Ponce contested the amount at sentencing and a restitution hearing is set for April 11 before Superior Court Judge Daniel Maguire.