Animal Control removed 56 wet, agitated, roosters and hens from their cages in the backyard of Timothy Prosser’s northwest Jacksonville home on Tuesday night.
Prosser was granted bail Wednesday morning.
He’s charged with having animals used for fighting and having equipment used for animal fighting.
“We feed our kids with the eggs. I mean, I love to bake,” said his wife Diane Griffin-Prosser. “We love our animals.”
She said her husband used to be involved with cockfighting, but not anymore.
“Yes, my husband did it years ago,” said Griffin-Prosser. “Long, long time ago.”
She said she believes the spurs, razor blades and steroids investigators said they found at their home were planted.
She said she suspects the original owners of the chickens, who were keeping the birds in their yard, are responsible.
“I feel that we were being set up,” said Griffin-Prosser.
She said her husband agreed to keep the chickens and pens at their home, and they knew they would be used for cockfighting.
She said the chickens' owners stopped using the chickens to cockfight “when my husband told them they couldn’t come back on our property because they owed us $500 for stealing stuff off my property. I feel like that’s why they planted this stuff.”
This is Prosser’s fourth Duval County arrest.
Prosser has also been cited by the city eight times for keeping chickens at a previous home that wasn’t zoned for it. The Duval County Clerk of Courts has no record he ever paid those $2,640 in fines.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has been called out to the Prossers’ home seven times in the past year.
Animal Control Chief Jim Crosby said officers were originally called out to Prosser’s home on Tuesday night because someone reported two dogs tied up without proper food, water or shelter.
Those officers saw the chickens and other items while they were there.
Animal Control moved Prosser’s chickens to an undisclosed location, where they’re being evaluated by veterinarians.
“There are alterations that fighters make to the birds to take away vulnerable areas and also to enhance their ability, for instance, to make it so they can strap literally knife blades to the back of their legs so they can do more damage and slice up the other animal,” said Crosby.
Crosby said the red frills on top of some of the roosters’ heads have been cut off. He said it’s a typical practice in cockfighting, because it makes it harder for other roosters to grab onto the mutilated birds with their beaks.
Animal control made makeshift perches out of mop handles to make the chickens more comfortable in their new pens.