A Minneapolis man has pleaded guilty to cockfighting charges, months after launching a legal fight to win back more than a dozen chickens seized by the city.
Cheng Lor will serve nine days of community service and two years of probation under a plea deal with prosecutors for possessing fighting chickens. Police discovered the animals, several of which were dead, during a January search of his north Minneapolis home spurred by unrelated allegations that Lor had been dealing marijuana.
One dead rooster was found with duct tape on its rounded leg spurs, which city animal control officials said is sometimes used to attach blades during cockfighting. The live roosters also had rounded spurs and scars on their heads.
Nearby in the basement, officers found a bloody suitcase outfitted with air holes and chicken wire, a blood-specked carpet, a glue gun and extra feathers.
Altogether, the city impounded 15 live birds and four dead ones. One of the live birds was euthanized for medical reasons, said city spokesman Matt Lindstrom. The rest were transferred to rescues.
Lor filed a petition to retrieve the animals from the city's animal shelter this spring, prior to cockfighting charges being filed in Hennepin County. He ultimately dismissed the appeal and was forced to pay the city $2,150 for kenneling expenses.
Lor initially said he and his son possessed the chickens as a hobby and for food, Police Sgt. Lindsay Herron wrote in a January police report submitted to the court. He said the dead roosters had escaped pens and fought while he was away.
For his guilty plea, Lor was sentenced to 10 days in the Hennepin County Workhouse, which was stayed for nine days of community service. He may not not own or posses live chickens. Successful completion of the probation will reduce the felony conviction to a misdemeanor.
His attorney, Casey Rundquist, did not respond to a message seeking comment Wednesday morning.
Lor’s attorney, Casey Rundquist, said his client admitted to selling chickens with knowledge that some would be used for fighting, based on their breed. Rundquist added there was no evidence his client had direct involvement in running, participating in or deriving proceeds from cockfighting matches, however.
“The basis of the plea was that by selling these roosters with knowledge they would be used in fighting or used for future breeding for fighting birds, that was sufficient knowledge or intent to be within the parameters of the [cockfighting] statute,” Rundquist said.
Police had originally entered the home after an informant claimed Lor had sold him marijuana during an arranged purchase. They found no narcotics in the home, however, according to court documents.
Prior to his guilty plea, Lor had attempted to suppress evidence stemming from the raid by arguing that the drug-related search warrant did not articulate probable cause.
Photos: Cheng Lor mugshot; one of the seized roosters.