Judge scolds father who ran cockfights



GOLD BAR, Wash. - A father who ran an extensive cockfighting ring from his family home begged to stay out of jail.

But the judge blasted him and prosecutors for the plea deal they tried to pull.

"I tell ya I have a hard time with this case," said Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss.

Juan Carlos Gomez-Fierros needed an interpreter to understand the hearing, but Judge Weiss’ anger was clear.

"An animal is defenseless, so I'm really bothered by your actions," he said.

Officers raided Gomez-Fierros’ Gold Bar home in 2011 after an informant tipped them off about cockfights being staged in a detached garage. Officers seized 59 roosters and pulled apart a ring used for deadly fights. They found razors that were strapped to the birds and a pit in the yard to bury the losers. Seventeen people were arrested.

"They were getting excessive," said Tom Fogey, who could hear the roosters crow from his house across the street.

"I'm glad they're gone. I moved up here to be in a quiet neighborhood," said Fogey.

Gomez-Fierros, a father of four, begged to do community service instead of jail time. Prosecutors recommended a 30-day jail stay but didn’t oppose Gomez-Fierros’ request.

Judge Weiss criticized the state for being too lenient, saying, "The recommendation in this case, I think, is less stringent than it should have been." 

Judge Weiss added five days to the sentence, 35 days in all. He also ordered Gomez-Fierros to start that term immediately.

"You're going to go in today," he said.