After 48 chickens rescued from cockfighting ring, rescue group seeks foster homes

BRONZEVILLE – A group of chicken rescuers are seeking help after nearly 50 birds were rescued from a cockfighting ring in June.

Most of the 48 birds now live on a farm in Wisconsin after Chicago Animal Care and Control rescued them on June 18 from a “suspected cockfighting ring,” said Julia Magnus, an animal advocate. But members of Magnus’ Chicago Roo Crew – which rescues chickens – need foster homes and permanent homes for the remaining birds.

Melody, a game hen, and her five chicks are raised by Dawn Avello, a volunteer at Fur Angels Animal Sanctuary in Aurora. Two birds, Mike and Benji, received treatment at Niles Animal Hospital and Bird Medical Center for serious injuries and conditions and are in a foster home.

Another 20 birds from other rescues also need homes, Magnus said.

Credit: Chicago Roo Crew
Mike is one of two roosters receiving medical attention at Niles Animal Hospital and Bird Medical Center.

Many birds seized in the chest initially needed medical attention due to open or infected injuries or illnesses, and nearly all had mites and parasites, Magnus said. They showed injuries consistent with being used for cockfighting, she said.

Chicago Animal Care and Control did not respond to a request for comment.

Medical care for the recently rescued birds cost around $6,000.

Getting medical attention for the birds has been an added expense for Chicago Roo Crew, which also has to care for its existing population of rescued birds. The group has seen an influx of needy birds as people abandon them following a pandemic adoption boom.

“Saving these lives is important to us and…it obviously comes at a significant cost,” Magnus said.

RELATED: After the pandemic adoption boom, people are abandoning their backyard chickens. Local rescue groups try to save them

Credit: Chicago Roo Crew
Melody, a game hen, is currently being fostered with her chicks, all of whom have been named after songs and sports names like “Jude” and “Tiny Dancer”.

Magnus is looking at people who have shown interest in taking in and housing the birds, but she would need more help, she said. Those who take in or take in Mike and Benji in particular should be very understanding homes, she said.

Benji will need continued treatment after leaving Niles Animal Hospital. After that, he can be approved for adoption.

Credit: Chicago Roo Crew
Benji is one of two roosters receiving medical attention at Niles Animal Hospital and Bird Medical Center after being rescued from an alleged cockfighting ring in late June. He had to have a toe amputated and had an abscess on one of his legs.

“We will be looking for homes that are experienced in managing veterans, who know exactly what they are getting into, who are willing to commit to not putting these birds around other roosters, who understand they can be reactive for a period of time, … that pledge not to reproduce, Magnus said.

Another complication for animal lovers: Roo Crew and similar groups don’t take in animals due to the risk of bird flu, which can spread quickly between birds.

The Roo Crew made an exception for recent rescues due to the situation. The group has already helped save dozens of needy roosters and hens from cockfighting rings.

Credit: Maia McDonald/Block Club Chicago
Julia Magnus, animal rights attorney and volunteer for Chicago Roo Crew, seen July 1, 2021.

Magnus said those interested in fostering one of the birds can message the Chicago Roo Crew Facebook or email [email protected] Other supporters can donate on GoFundMe.

Those interested in helping Chicago chickens should also support other bird rescue groups, like the Chicago Chicken Rescue, and foster if they can, Magnus said.

“Many people may not realize that just like ‘conventional’ pets like dogs and cats, birds and especially roosters also need homes,” Magnus said.[They] suffer from the stigma of not being ‘equal’ or ‘as good’ as mammals, but this is far from true.

“If you’re adopting, we’ll support you every step of the way, helping you find the best companion for your lifestyle, whether it’s a house rooster or a new member of the flock.”

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