LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Up to 7,000 birds intended for cockfighting were seized in Northern Los Angeles County in the largest cockfighting bust in U.S. history, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
According to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, the birds were seized Monday in a remote area of Val Verde, west of Castaic.
A video taken by deputies showed the scope of the raid, including birds staked to blue poles and pens lined up.
“This included mobile fighting pits and the rings that they used to have the roosters fight each other,” Capt. Jeff Perry said.
Several dead roosters also were found, along with hundreds of slashers — razor sharp blades that are fastened to the birds’ legs when they fight.
“The bird is being stabbed repeatedly to the chest area,” said Eric Sakach, Senior Law Enforcement Specialist for the Humane Society of the United States. “It’s not unsual for one or both birds to be dead.”
Syringes and steroids were also found to make the birds strong and lethal.
“Cockfighters or rooster handlers, let those birds who suffer injuries during cockfighting to go untreated or throw the birds away in the trash afterwards,” Deputy Lillian Peck said. “Having the birds fight to death along with letting them to untreated is not only cruel, but oftentimes goes hand in hand with gambling, drug dealing, illegal gun sales and murder.”
Other evidence included illegal drugs and a shotgun with a serial number removed.
“Mind bottling. The scale of this particular operation defies belief,” Sakach said.
But the woman who lives next door said she did not believe her neighbor was running the largest cockfighting operation in U.S. history. “I believe there was no illegal cockfighting going on,” she said.
Ten people who work on the property were detained.
Investigators said the property owner is a primary suspect, but has not been arrested.
Authorities say 2,700 birds were seized during a raid on the same property in 2007.