Mayor Savares: Cockfighters are more likely to get penalized for social distancing violations

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Adding to the growing controversy on cockfighting, Mayor of Dededo Melissa Savares spoke on a recent investigation on suspected cockfighting. Once she noticed cars gathering at the Dome, she alerted the Department of Public Health and Social Services, who works closely with the Guam Police Department. “I’m not the regulating agency,” she said in an interview with K57’s Patti Arroyo. “I do report it, though.”

Cockfighting is illegal under federal law, despite many people in leadership arguing otherwise. Senator Jose “Pedo” Terlaje, for example, has said in the past that “we should not commit any law enforcement resources to appease an outsider [Animal Wellness Action President Wayne Pacelle] who doesn’t even recognize our human rights.”

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In the interview, she had said that many officers in the Guam Police Department have participated and continue to participate in cockfighting. She alleges that officers may even inform their coworkers and friends at the Dome before heading over to investigate. It has happened in the past, she says.

Cockfighting participants and spectators are more likely to get citations for breaking Public Health guidelines, such as mask-wearing and social distancing, than for cockfighting. As an example, Mayor Savares cites a recent investigation spurned from her complaint of social gathering at the Dome. “What they [GPD] cited them [spectators] for was no mask, no social distancing, and gathering in the indoor facility,” says Mayor Savares.

But patrons to the Dome were not penalized for the cockfight. “What I’ve been told by Public Health was they weren’t doing the cockfight yet. The cages were there, the birds were there–but people were gathering.”

She said she would report cockfighting as a standalone issue, but “I’m not the police.”

She added, “There might be GPD officers cockfighting, and they’re going to tell their pare who is already there, because that is what happens. And that I’ve heard that from all the other mayors. I can report it but they’re in there too.”

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Starting as the weather personality for the Pacific News Center in 2019, then as a reporter, Destiny Cruz is now PNC’s lead anchor, producer, writer, and TV host for two of Sorensen Media Group’s shows. Over three years at PNC, Destiny has covered issues impacting our island in areas including legislation and health, to name a few, in addition to highlighting the meaningful stories of Guam’s community in features and lifestyle. Corresponding with her professional growth, Destiny has acquired personal achievements that have contributed to her development as a dynamic woman: she is a proud graduate of the Guam Community College, earning her degree in liberal studies, a former Miss Guam (Miss World Guam 2017), and singer/songwriter.