Cockfighting operation busted in Montebello

MONTEBELLO, Calif. Southeast Area Animal Control Authority (SEAACA) officers confiscated nearly 650 roosters from a 4-acre piece of property in /*Montebello*/ Monday.

In addition to the roosters, more than 600 hens were also seized as well as many tools of the /*cockfighting*/ trade including spurs used to slash and steroids used to make roosters more aggressive. Officials also confiscated various pharmaceuticals to treat the roosters' wounds.

"We were able to put together enough probable cause that we were able get a search-and-seizure warrant and go in there," said SEAACA Sgt. Charles Miller. "As a result, we were able to uncover multiple fighting implements that are used in the actual fights for these animals as well as training implements."

Monday's raid culminates a two-year investigation that started with the city of Montebello's Code Enforcement officers informing SEAACA of what they suspected was going on.

"The birds themselves were groomed for fighting, which means their combs and their waddles were cut and their spurs, which are their natural spurs on their legs, were cut off as well, which is indicative of animal fighting or animal blood sports," explained Miller.

The confiscated birds will be used as evidence, and once prosecutors finish building their case, the birds will be destroyed.

Two men were arrested at the Montebello property Monday, but they were cited and then released. They face misdemeanor charges which include possession of a rooster for fighting.

During the search, officers found dead roosters on the property. If it turns out that those birds died during cockfights, the charges can escalate to felonies.

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