Chickens killed following chargeless cockfighting suspicion

By William R. Toler

Terril Byrd’s feathers are ruffled…and for good reason. byrd

Back in December, New Bern police seized nearly 60 chickens (hens and roosters) from Byrd’s property on suspicion of cockfighting, according to NewsChannel 12. The station reports officers also seized training muffs, a vest, syringes and antibiotics.

Byrd told the station in January that he hadn’t done anything wrong. “They’re show birds,” he said. “I show them at the fair.” He also explained that the muffs were used for breeding and the vest was actually a beer holder.

Earlier this month, the station reported that District Attorney Scott Thomas said there was not enough evidence to charge Byrd and he gave the go-ahead for the chickens to be returned, passing the buck to Animal control.

“They were my pets,” he said. “The birds mean everything to me.”

Before he could get them back, some of the birds allegedly contracted “a contagious disease.” Some died. The rest were killed by the county government.

Scott Harrelson, county health director said that the chickens were already sick when they were taken into custody, but Byrd denies that claim.

Byrd is requesting $50,000 in damages, for the birds and the cages that were ripped open during the raid.

The station reports that a police spokesperson says there is no plan to compensate Byrd for his losses. The police also released this statement:

“Our Animal Control Unit seized Mr. Byrd’s chickens during the service of a search warrant.  The birds have been officially released to the Craven County Health Department. Mr. Byrd should have been notified by

the CravenCounty Health Director, Scott Harrelson and Mr. Byrd was also sent a letter from [Police] Chief Summers.”

“They had no reason to seize nothin’ from me,” Byrd said. “My chickens should still be sittin’ here crowin’ loud right now. But because of them [New Bern Police], they’re not here.”

So, who should be responsible?

It’s still not clear what probable cause was used to obtain the warrant, aside from just having a bunch of chickens caged up in the yard.

The D.A. washed his hands of the matter earlier in the month. So that leaves New Bern Police, who confiscated the chickens, and the Craven County Health Department, the agency in custody during the eradication.

Either way, if Byrd is compensated, the taxpayers will be on the hook, since there is no personal responsibility when it comes to actions taken by government agents.

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5 Responses to Chickens killed following chargeless cockfighting suspicion

  1. Darkwing

    The New Bern Gestapo, local judge and the DA’s office all had to approve the warrent. They all have blood on their hands. Thomas is the dirtiest.

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