Rock Island man charged with cultivating cockfights

A Rock Island man faces a charge of animal fighting after a neighbor gave sheriff’s deputies a video file purporting to show him training roosters for battle.

Luis Rey Samaniego, 48, was charged by summons Aug. 2 based on the neighbor’s video and evidence gathered during a warrant search. The neighbor first called Douglas County sheriff’s deputies in February, saying Samaniego was “throwing roosters in the air” in an attempt to coax them to fight, according to police reports.

Deputies who arrived didn’t witness any ill-treatment of animals, but the neighbor later provided a disc with video files that showed Samaniego swinging a rooster while cradling it in his arms, swinging one rooster toward another rooster, kicking a rooster that was on the ground and roughly throwing a rooster according to court documents.

Deputies said the practice of thrusting one rooster toward another is known as “flirting,” a training method that cultivates aggression.
Samaniego’s home and yard in the 1600 block of Center Street was searched April 1. Deputies said they found four roosters that appeared to have had their combs clipped, a measure that helps prevent heavy bleeding in case of injury.

One rooster jumped up and scratched at a sheriff’s sergeant during the search of the chicken yard, police said.

Samaniego will be arraigned Aug. 22. He was convicted of possession of cocaine in 2008 and sentenced to four months in jail. Animal fighting carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.