Police in California claim to have disrupted a large cockfight over the weekend and that nearly 150 roosters had to be euthanized as a result.
At around 10:30 p.m. local time on Friday, deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff's Office were called about "a loud and large event" at a residence in Jurupa Valley, approximately an hour east of Los Angeles.
When police arrived at the residence, they found nearly 200 people gathered, many of whom quickly dispersed. They also found evidence of an illegal cockfighting ring and 143 birds intended for cockfighting, according to a statement.
"[M]ultiple deceased or severely injured birds" were also discovered, according to a press release.
With so many animals involved in the incident, police requested assistance from the local animal control office. Animal control officials then "gathered and humanely euthanized all of the birds," a process which took about six hours, according to a statement from Riverside County Department of Animal Services.
"The birds must be euthanized," the statement claims, "because Animal Services cannot adopt out such birds as they are valuable and they would almost always end up back in a cockfighting ring.
"They are not suitable as pets," the statement adds.
A man at the scene claimed to own the birds and relinquished them to the custody of police when they were then put down. The man has been cited for "for possession of fighting blades," a misdemeanor charge which carries a sentence of up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine.
However, the investigation is still ongoing, and the RCDAS is expected to encourage the local district attorney to file felony animal cruelty charges against the unnamed suspect. In California, anyone convicted of felony animal cruelty can face up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $20,000.