20 October 2019


In August and September 2019, UPC corresponded with Curry County New Mexico Sheriff, Wesley Waller, to whom we requested an investigation of a property in Melrose, New Mexico, where 200 roosters were reported by a distressed neighbor to be living in barrels for the purpose of cockfighting. Sheriff Waller rejected our request.

From: Wesley Waller [wwaller@currycounty.org]
Sent: Tuesday, September 17, 2019 4:18 PM
To: Karen Davis
Subject: Re: To Sheriff Waller Re: Roosters

Ms. Davis,

We are familiar with this complaint and have looked into it several times. Our investigators have found no criminal violations. The property is situated within the incorporated area of the Village of Melrose, and would be subject to the Village ordinances.

Thank you,
Wesley Waller, Sheriff

Curry County Sheriff's Office * 700 North Main, Suite 4 * PO Box 1043 * Clovis, New Mexico * 88101

Office: (575) 769-2335 * Fax: (575) 763-4440

From: Karen Davis
Sent: Monday, Sep 16, 2019 at 9:21 AM
To: Wesley Waller
Subject: To Sheriff Waller Re: Roosters

Dear Sheriff Waller:

Below is the letter I sent to you in the regular mail on August 23rd.

I left a voice message for you a few minutes ago today explaining that, according to the neighbor of the Payne couple, the situation has worsened. Some of the previous roosters were taken away, and now there are more roosters living inhumanely in barrels, and they are crowing all night long in their distress in this situation that appears also to be illegal. In an email to our office today, the neighbor reported regarding Paul and Suzanne Payne:

“They do keep hens. They are also violating village statutes with the number of birds and the number of goats they have now added to the same area as the roosters. The roosters are constantly crowing. Even in the dark of night they are crowing when they ought to be roosting. So they are not even able to roost properly in the conditions they are in.”

Please investigate this situation. We are very concerned about the cruelty these birds are enduring, based on the reports we’ve received.

Thank you for your attention.
Karen Davis
United Poultry Concerns


UPC logo

United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150, Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
Phone: 757-678-7875 • FAX: 757-678-5070

August 23, 2019

Sheriff Wesley Waller
Curry County Sheriff’s Office
700 N Main Street, Ste 4
Clovis, NM 88101

Dear Sheriff Waller,

I am writing to you in response to a request we received this week from the neighbor of a couple named Paul and Suzanne Payne who reside at 711 Avenue A, Melrose, NM 88124.

According to the person who contacted us, Paul and Suzanne Payne have approximately 200 roosters tethered in a barrel with no protection from predators. In addition, these birds often go for a day or two without food or water. Because the roosters are living in a highly stressful situation, they crow constantly.

Allow me to clarify that I have maintained and cared for roosters and hens since 1985 and am very familiar with chickens and their behavior. Many of our birds through the years have come from raids on cockfighting and game fowl breeding operations, so I am well acquainted with “game” fowl hens and roosters, including their suffering in being neglected and abused and including their ability to live normally once they have escaped the fear and trauma of the cockfighting and game fowl breeding environment.

I am writing respectfully to ask your office to conduct a wellness check on the 200 or so roosters who are described as being kept in an inhumane and neglected situation where they are suffering and need help.

It appears that the conditions these birds are in fit the definition of animal cruelty under the New Mexico Animal Cruelty Statute in which neglect and a failure to provide necessary sustenance to an animal under the person’s custody or control are cited as violations of the law.

Would you please investigate the Payne property on behalf of these birds? Would you please take whatever lawful action you can to charge the owners with animal cruelty and help these birds get out of this situation? Since cockfighting is illegal in New Mexico, there can be no reason for residents to have hundreds of roosters on site other than for a law-breaking purpose.

Thank you very much for your attention to this letter. I look forward to your response.



Karen Davis, PhD
United Poultry Concerns
12325 Seaside Road, PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405
Office: 757-678-7875
Email: Karen@UPC-online.org


United Poultry Concerns is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes the
compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. http://www.upc-online.org

Federal ID: 52-1705678