By Connor Lynch
MOOSE CREEK — One year after the OPP raided a property at Moose Creek, east of Ottawa, and arrested 11 men in the swirling midst of a cockfight, the 83-year-old property owner has been sentenced.
Gerald Tessier, of Long Sault, has been fined $500, sentenced to 12 months probation (with the condition tacked on that he won’t be getting his gaffes, hooks, money, cages or training manuals back), and has been banned for 20 years from owning any gamecocks or fighting birds. Owning fighting cocks is already illegal in Ontario, but the added ban means Tessier would face additional charges if he acquired any fighting roosters.
Documentation seized at the scene at the time of the raid showed a history of cockfighting at the location going back to 2005, reported the Cornwall Newswatch. One officer at the time of the raid heard one man say: “Who called on us?” said Cornwall Newswatch.
Tessier was sentenced in the Cornwall Court of Justice on April 6. Although he was originally charged with owning a cockpit, encouraging animals to fight and permitting animals to be in distress, he pled guilty only to the third charge and the other two were dropped. The joint position on sentencing took into account the advanced ages of some of the accused, the seizure of profits by police and scrutiny by the press.
Of the other 10 men involved, 7 have entered guilty pleas and charges were withdrawn against the other 3.
The raid in April of last year came as a complete shock to residents of Moose Creek who were unaware the village was playing unwitting host to the backyard bloodbaths.
Tessier owned the property that hosted the event on Tolmies Corners Road, just south of the village, in a desolate looking little shack tucked behind the cover of trees.
Cockfighting, while rare in Canada, is not unheard of. A farm north of Toronto was raided in 2009 and 70 people were charged, and a raid in Northumberland County in 2007 saw police seize 198 fighting birds.