Alleged cock fighting ring busted

December 15, 2008 3:42:57 AM PST
Dozens of roosters were seized in a big bird-fighting bust. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Investigators are working to track down all the people who were involved. They're also working to sort out all the charges. The SPCA rounded up the animals Sunday night after the afternoon raid in Montgomery County off FM 1485 near Pickering.

There has been one arrest, but officials aren't finished yet. Investigators spent the evening at the scene trying to figure out who organized the cock fighting, who was participating and who was there to watch. More than 150 roosters were taken away by SPCA.

Montgomery County Sheriff's Office deputies say it was an anonymous tip that led them to this remote location in the southeastern part of the county.

"This is not the first one we've had in the county," Lt Phillip Cash of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office told us. "We had a big one a few months ago in the Splendora area."

Investigators say they arrived to an active scene where as many as 80 people may have been watching the cock fighting in two fenced in rings. Undercover officers suspect there was serious betting on the outcome of these brutal fights.

"It's a life or death fight for the birds," Lt Cash explained. "Sometimes both birds die or they die shortly thereafter."

Deputies say steroids were being injected and spurs were used to create a knife like fight between the two animals.

Investigators spent the evening searching through about two dozen vehicles on the property where they say they found some cages. It's how they believe some of the roosters were brought in.

Detectives were also led to what's believed to be a shallow grave created for twenty birds just killed.

"We don't agree with anyone treating any animal cruel, no matter what it is," said SPCA spokesperson Meera Nandlal. "From a rooster to an exotic animal like Henry the chimpanzee, to dogs and cats to horses too."

Representatives from Houston's SPCA took more than 150 animals from the scene where they say they will receive the care they need.

"They'll go through a medical and behavioral evaluation and of course they get proper shelter and food and water and care," Nandlal said.

The SPCA says the courts will eventually decide what will happen to the roosters.

Police in Dallas had a similar bird-fighting bust last month. Investigators questioned about 400 people whom they found watching illegal bird fights. They also seized 200 animals.

Cockfighting is a felony punishable by up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine. Even though it's illegal to hold a cockfight, under Texas law, it's not illegal to watch one. Possessing birds and fighting paraphernalia is also legal.

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