45 roosters seized at cockfighting ring in Madera County

MADERA COUNTY, Calif.

Officials say the cockfighting ring was orchestrated by a nineteen-year-old man. Officials tell us most of the roosters were so badly injured -- the majority of them have to be euthanized.

Rows of boxes containing dozens of roosters sat in front of the Madera County Animal Shelter Sunday. Officers confiscated a total of 45 animals -- after sheriff's deputies received a tip about a cockfight going on at a Madera County property -- next to Dixieland School.

Amy Toler, Madera County Animal Control said, "There was several birds that were lose, running around that had injuries that were staggering, one with a broken leg, a couple puncture wounds, a couple of them were fatally injured."

Several of the roosters were strapped with knives. When investigators first arrived at the home -- an estimated twenty people were there. Some ran away. But, officers managed to take four people into custody, including two juveniles -- all of whom will have to pay a small fine.

"It is only a misdemeanor," said Toler. "Something like this, you'd hope for something more. I mean they are endangering an animal's life.

Officials say evidence shows this was not the first cock fight to take place on the property. In fact, aside from finding animal parts left from previous fights, they also discovered a seating area built specifically for spectators.

"It is viewed as a sport by some people," said Toler. "And to us, it's not. It is animal cruelty."

Madera County officials say they deal with cockfighting rings on a regular basis. And while officials expect to find more -- they're asking the public to help them by continuing to call -- if they see something suspicious.

"It does happen a lot and unfortunately, this is how it always ends," said Toler. "The birds always lose."

A man who lives at the home was among those arrested. Animal Control officers say they will keep four of the roosters alive as evidence in the case.

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