By Mark Angelo Mañez


A rooster fitted with a knife around its foot stabbed its owner to death during practice for an illegal cockfight in India.

Thangulla Satish, 45, died of blood loss after the rooster repeatedly stabbed him in the grown with a three-inch knife that had been tied around the animal's leg, according to the Associated Press. 

Satish was among 16 people organizing the cockfight in the village of Lothunur in the Indian state of Telegana, the AP reported.

Authorities are currently searching for the other 15 organizers, who could be charged with manslaughter. They each face up to two years in prison, according to Al-Jazeera. 

Animal rights activists say the sport is especially cruel because it takes advantage of the birds' natural survival mechanisms in forcing them to fight.

To make matches gorier, some cockfighting trainers fit their birds with what's known as a "gaff" – a long, dagger-like knife attached to the animal's foot. Birds often will have many of their feathers plucked out before matches to make it more difficult for their opponents to attack, according to the ASPCA.

They are also sometimes drugged with methamphetamines to enhance their aggressiveness.

Even birds that win their matches often suffer injuries so severe that they, too, are killed. 

Despite India's Supreme Court outlawing the practice in the 1960s, cockfighting continues to be popular in many of the country's southern states.

In the US, cockfighting is considered a felony in 42 states, though federal authorities continue to regularly break up fighting rings around the country. In August of last year, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department busted a ring with more than 2,000 birds, USA Today reported.

Authorities in New York — in a 2014 sting they dubbed "Operation Angry Birds" — arrested more than 70 people and confiscated more than 3,000 birds, the New York Post reported. 

This is not the first time a bird handler has been killed by a gamecock. Last year, a 55-year-old Indian man from Andhra Pradesh died after a gamecock slashed him in the neck and abdomen during a match held to mark the Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti. And in 2018, a 34-year-old man from Rajavaram, India, bled to death after a rooster gaff pierced his thigh and testicles.