Dozens of roosters seized from home

February 15, 2009 9:02:18 PM PST
There is an animal cruelty investigation underway after dozens of birds were seized. Police say the animals appeared to be part of a bird fighting ring. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Authorities say officers were responding to an animal cruelty call at a home on Lavender near Crosstimbers in northeast Houston Sunday and as they looked over the fence, about 50 people started running. Some even headed to a nearby church.

"People were running everywhere. I mean we kept getting calls. It was on the computer about people knocking on their doors, trying to get away from us," said Sgt. Paul George with the Houston Police Department.

As officers searched the property, they found more than 100 animals, including a large group of roosters police suspect may be part of a cockfighting ring.

"We tagged some spurs, a lot of spurs that they normally put on the roosters legs and make them fight," said Sgt. George. "And there were loads of boxes that they used to transport chickens in, also."

Neighbors watched as the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care loaded up the birds.

"I think it's horrible, but I was very surprised because I'm here all of the time," said neighbor Donna Edwards. "I live a few houses down and I don't ever hear any kind of chicken thing, other than in the morning when the roosters wakes us up."

They also took four dogs, turtles, horses and even an alligator from the scene.

About 15 people were detained, including Luis Hernandez.

"Do you know the owner and do you know what he was doing with all of the animals?" we asked him.

"No, my friend said to come here and see what's up," responded Hernandez.

Officers say those questioned will be placed in the offense report as potential suspects as investigators follow up. But whether questioned today or they've visited before, many denied anything illegal was taking place.

"They were just socializing," said neighbor Garrett Morehead. "I mean, as far as cockfighting, there was no cockfighting going on."

Police say they counted 45 cars at the scene. Authorities say most of the men questioned at the scene were from somewhere in Brazoria County.

Today's raid looked a lot like the one in Montgomery County two months ago. Dozens of spectators left their cars behind and ran into the woods when authorities showed up.

Investigators seized more than 150 live roosters and dug up a grave filled with animal carcasses. Five men were arrested on gambling and animal cruelty charges.

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