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1,200 birds rescued from Wis. cockfighting ring

MINNEAPOLIS - Wisconsin authorities and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have seized about 1,200 birds from a cockfighting ring in Polk and St. Croix counties, reports CBS Minnesota.

Three brothers, Ernesto, Agustin and Idelio Benitez, are under arrest on suspicion of instigating fights between animals, reports the station.

The ASPCA says law enforcement executed search warrants Tuesday at four western Wisconsin properties. and that cockfighting paraphernalia was discovered including a fighting pit and gaffs - long, dagger-like attachments used to inflict maximum injury to birds.

"Right now we just have teams going through, identifying and documenting evidence, as well as providing medical examinations on all the birds and providing medical care," ASPCA's Tim Rickey said.

Investigators found roosters, hens and chicks living in cages or makeshift enclosures, some without food or water. The ASPCA says some birds appeared to be injured from fighting, while others had their combs and wattles removed.

Two people were arrested in Polk County.