VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Volusia County Animal Services seized more than 200 chickens from a home in Seville that authorities believe were being bred and sold in a cockfighting operation.
The case will now be handed over to the State Attorney’s Office for possible criminal charges.
Animal Services had been monitoring the property on Lake George Road after authorities responded to the residence for an unrelated incident and reported “tell-tale signs of a cockfighting operation.” Animal Services obtained a search warrant and working with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, went to the property on Monday at 10 p.m. to search for criminal activity.
During the search, authorities located 248 birds, including one dead, and others that had to be euthanized because of their aggressive nature and the potential to spread disease, according to Volusia County government officials. Some birds had modifications to their anatomy, another sign of cockfighting, according to officials.
Officials reported evidence that the chickens were being injected with vitamin supplements to help them gain weight, a common practice with birds that are being groomed to fight.
Other cockfighting paraphernalia was also seized including knives used to attach to the birds' legs and weight scales.
Breeding, training, selling or transporting animals for the purpose of fighting is a third-degree felony.
“There’s a reason why this type of activity is illegal,” Volusia County Animal Services Director Adam Leath said in a news release. “Cockfighting is incredibly brutal and cruel to the animals. It’s basically a fight to the death. It’s hard to see how anyone can consider this entertainment or sport.”
Even though it’s illegal, Leath said cockfighting can often be hard to detect. Officials have discovered the criminal activity by chance or learn about it from tips from nearby neighbors.
“Usually the neighborhood knows that animal fighting is going on before we find out,” Leath said. “Just pick up the phone to let us know and we’ll take care of the rest. By being our eyes and ears, the public can help us put a stop to this terrible practice.”
Anyone who suspects illegal animal fighting taking place in Volusia County can contact Animal Service at 386-248-1790.