EAST PALO ALTO (CBS SF) -- A man has been arrested and 56 injured and aggressive roosters euthanized after an illegal cockfighting operation was discovered in the backyard of an East Palo Alto home, officials announced Thursday.
Peninsula Humane Society lead investigator Christina Hanley told KPIX 5 that her organization had been tipped of the illegal operation's existence, but it wasn't until they received a call on March 23rd about an aggressive dog that they could locate it.
"We received a request for assistance from the East Palo Alto police department for an aggressive dog in a yard," she said. "An aggressive dog has gotten into the yard and was chasing some of the birds around. Once PD (police officers) had gotten into the yard they noticed that there were injured birds. The residents claimed that the dog had injured some of the birds."
"When we arrived, we examined the birds and based on my training and experience, I recognized immediately that these injuries were from cockfighting and not the dog."
Hanley also noticed that "dozens of roosters had been modified and trained for fighting."
East Palo Alto police and PHS/SPCA investigators also discovered paraphernalia associated with cockfighting.
According to Hanley, most of the roosters had been "dubbed," a painful process consistent with cockfighting in which their combs, wattles, and earlobes are cut off.
"Many of the birds still had open and bleeding wounds from the dubbing process," she said.
All of the roosters had to be euthanized since many were suffering from cockfighting-related injuries or were considered too aggressive for adoption.
The suspect, whose identity has not yet been released, was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty, cockfighting, and possession of cockfighting materials.
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