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Big Island man indicted on cockfighting charge

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HILO >> A 61-year-old Kau man has been indicted on charges stemming from a 2013 cockfight in a Pahala macadamia nut orchard.

A Hilo grand jury indicted Florentino Orcino on charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty, felony promotion of gambling, felony possession of gambling records and a felony count of carrying a firearm, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

A bench warrant for his arrest was issued.

The indictment indicates Orcino was connected to a cockfight on April 14, 2013. Vice officers served a search warrant and seized 15 dead or injured chickens, a .22-caliber pistol, gambling records, cockfighting paraphernalia and $6,790 in cash, a police spokeswoman said.

Orcino has a previous conviction connected to cockfighting. He and three others were arrested on March 7, 1999, after police raided a Pahala cockfight attended by 175 people. Orcino was convicted of misdemeanor gambling and animal cruelty charges and sentenced Sept. 13, 2000, to a year’s probation and a $500 fine.

Inga Gibson, state director of the Humane Society of the United States, said cockfighting is a serious crime. Cockfighting continues and prosecutions are rare in part because of Hawaii’s weak laws, she said.

“The laws require that the perpetrators be caught in the actual act of cockfighting,” she said. “All of the other peripheral activities, whether it’s breeding or buying or selling or training — or even attending a cockfight — are not expressly illegal.”

She equates cockfighting to dog fighting.

“These animals are forced to fight to the death in the name of illegal gambling and profits,” she said. “And that’s what we have to depend on here in Hawaii, because the cockfighting law itself, the animal cruelty law is so weak, being only a misdemeanor.”

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