NC sheriff honored for saving birds in ‘cockfighting hub’ of East Coast

A North Carolina sheriff has received a national award for saving dozens of birds from cockfighting — an illegal blood sport that pits roosters with knives attached to their feet against one another in often fatal combat.

Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson received a 2020 Humane Law Enforcement Award from the Humane Society of the United States this month for busting a cockfighting operation in New Hill, near southwest Wake County, in February of last year.

Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states and became a felony in North Carolina in 2005. Still, it is widespread in the state, where legal loopholes make it hard for law enforcement to crack down, said Gail Thomssen, the North Carolina state director for the humane society.