KING COUNTY, Wash. — Dozens of roosters and bantam hens were recently seized from a vacant lot on 44th Avenue South in Tukwila.
This week, Romeo Rivera – the property owner - was charged with felony animal fighting because investigators believe those birds were bound for international cockfighting rings.
Cockfighting is against the law in Washington State and throughout most of the United States.
According to documents filed in King County Superior Court, "Rivera confessed to breeding and selling chickens for the purposes of fighting."
The 75-year old Rivera agreed to meet KIRO 7 at the property where his birds were seized, and said he was "just raising the chickens."
Rivera also said he knew cockfighting was illegal in the U.S., but not in the Philippines where he was born, and that he's surprised he's been charged with a felony because the allegations against him "are not true."
Rivera is expected in court Aug. 22.
Below is video of KIRO 7's past coverage of illegal cockfighting:
More news from KIRO 7
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