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Page County man sentenced to five years for cockfighting, animal cruelty

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Dale Comer Jr., 42, of Page County has been sentenced to five years in jail after he was convicted of 26 counts of felony animal fighting, 20 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, and one count of felony drug possession.

Comer also has 86 years of suspended time hanging over his head after he serves his five-year sentence, has a lifetime ban on owning animals of any kind, and was ordered to pay $29,714.51 in fees.

This is the largest cockfighting sentence in Virginia history and in the nation’s history.

“Animal fighting of any kind is a heinous activity that puts innocent animals in dangerous, many times life-threatening, situations,” Attorney General Mark Herring said. “I created my Animal Law Unit to help put a stop to animal cruelty and fighting in the Commonwealth and I am incredibly proud of their success over the past six years. I hope this strong sentence will send a message to anyone who plans to participate in cockfighting that it will not be tolerated in Virginia.”

According to evidence presented in court, Comer participated in cockfighting at his home in Page County. The Page County Sheriff’s Office made three separate visits to Comer’s home and each time they found that Comer had set up a cockfighting yard and found hens, roosters, and cockfighting paraphernalia including gaffes.

On their final visit to Comer’s property, authorities also found a plastic bag with methamphetamine residue. The Sheriff’s Office confiscated 335 birds, many of which had been altered and dubbed.

Additionally, two of the animal fighting charges involved Comer allowing his children to be involved in animal fighting – even giving them birds of their own, teaching them how to train the birds, and taking them to cockfights in West Virginia and Kentucky.

augusta free press
augusta free press