Who is Chesney? He is a former co*kfighting rooster. I may have written about
him before or I may have even sent Ohio's Happy Trail's complete account of him
with their permission. I'm sorry I don't remember, but accidentally coming upon
his story again made me realize that repetition is not bad - in fact, it is good.
The Happy Trail account I found shows Chesney being held by volunteer Janet Cobb.
He loved to be held! Several years ago he was rescued through a co*k-fighting raid in
Lorain Country, Ohio. He was one of the lucky 44 chickens that had been confiscated
in this raid.
After loving care, he was now considered handsome even though his comb had been
ruthlessly cut off without the use of anesthetics. His newly grown feathers were rich
shades of dark-red, red-brown, and red-black. He had arrived with all the feathers
having been shaved from his stomach- all the way down his legs. His delicate skin
had been burned red from the razor.
With their feathers shorn, this blood sport made it possible for the co*ks to get to each
others vital organs. Their combs were cut so that less blood would get into their eyes,
but still their combs could bleed when cut open by the sharp claws from the razor-sharp
metal bands that had been secured around each co*k's legs after their spurs had been
cut off from the back of their legs.
I marvel and cringe at the "ingenious" cruelty of this sport. To first do these horrible
things to these innocent birds and then to watch with anticipation and glee re the
horribly cruel outcomes makes me wonder about people and their lack of morals.
I am so glad that Chesney and the 44 others were rescued from this horror. Of all the
roosters who were rescued and worked with, Chesney was the one who really took to
his caretakers. He loved to be held. Yes, how good it must have seemed to him to
have protective arms around his small body which had been so cruelly victimized
earlier by despicable human beings who thought nothing- absolutely nothing about
him and his needs.
Sadly though, not only are the owners responsible for this cruelty, but so are those
who pay to watch this blood-letting spectacle and make bets on them. I believe
there is currently a bill in Congress which would make attending a dog fight an
infraction of law. Hopefully, it will also include attendance at co*k fights as well.
There would be no cruel co*k fights or pit bull fights if there were no cruel spectators
to watch them kill each other.
Chesney would so love to be held now that he would sometimes fall asleep in his
caretaker's arms, and sometimes people asked if he had died. This now contended
rooster even became an ambassador for Happy Trails and made appearances
at many educational institutions, including the University of Akron.
As the writer of this post observed: "It's one thing to explain to students how
animal fighting affects our neighborhood and communities and what animal fighting
is all about. It's quite another thing to hand a rooster to them that they can hold,
pet, and experience, knowing that it use to be an animal that had to fight for its
life. He had a way of bringing the story home for the students."
Chesney even visited nursing homes through the Happy Trails Farm Animal Visitation
Program. But it became evident after so many wonderful appearances that his time
on earth would soon be over. The caretakers were aware that sometimes the stubs
of his toes hurt -probably from arthritis. He began to sit down more and more and
the realization came that he would have to retire from his former many activities.
During the last week of his life, the caretakers realized that he wasn't feeling very well.
He would twist his neck around and tuck his beak into the warmth of his feathers under
the glow of his own personal heat lamp. Even so, he would be picked up each day and
told how much he was loved. Realizing that he wasn't going to get better, they thought
he should be taken to the vet and humanely euthanized.
But Chesney decided he would go on his own terms and on February 1st they found
that he had died. What an amazing story of a rooster who survived the horrors of
co*kfighting and even overcame his rightful fear and dread of humans. To his credit,
he realized that his rescuers were a much different breed from his torturers and showed
them love in return while becoming their ambassador of good will.
Chesney, I'm so glad I read your story again. I really had forgotten about the terrible
extent of your sufferings. I had also forgotten how special you were -once rescued.
An aside to this story which I found pertinent to share. Today - this Labor Day, The
View came on and I was caught up with Barbara Walters' warning about eating hot
dogs. She was rattling off the health statistics about the connection of eating them
to cancer rates. Good for you Barbara. Woophi Goldberg, on the other hand,
considered this nonsense and said she would continue to eat the hot dogs despite the
health warnings of this particular study.
She and the audience who approved her stance reminded me of the very sage
observation of Tolstoy. Every time I hear him quoted I am newly amazed at his
"The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has
not formed an idea of them already, but the SIMPLEST thing cannot be made clear to
the most intelligent man, if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already without a
shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him."