Jose Ochoa died after a rooster stabbed him in the leg during an illegal cockfight near Tulare County, Calif.
The rooster had a razor-like knife attached to its leg, which the birds use to fight each other to the death, notes LA Weekly.
Ochoa may have lost too much blood by fleeing the police and waiting to be taken to the Delano Regional Medical Center.
“I have never seen this type of incident,” Sgt. Martin King told the Bakersfield Californian. “People have been known to bleed out from those injuries if medical attention is not obtained immediately.” Ochoa has been charged previously for training roosters for cockfights, but he and other participants fled when police arrived. Police have found several dead roosters but have not arrested anyone yet.
"It's pretty rare, but I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often considering the knives they put on those birds," said John Goodwin, director of animal cruelty policy for the Humane Society. "It's not a surprise that somebody got killed."
Oregon, Arizona and New Mexico treat cockfighting as a felony, so California is an "attractive destination" because the illegal activity is only a misdemeanor, added Goodwin.
Ochoa had previously paid $370 in fines, which is little compared to gambling winnings of small cockfights that can reach amounts up to $10,000.
"The money adds up fast, and that's why we need strong penalties," Goodwin said. "For a law to be a deterrent, the penalty has to be greater than the gain of breaking the law."