143 roosters euthanized after California cockfighting bust

Authorities broke up a large cockfighting event over the weekend and said they were forced to euthanize nearly 150 roosters found at a Southern California home, animal control and sheriff’s department officials said.

Deputies late Friday discovered about 200 people at the residence in the city of Jurupa Valley and "evidence of an illegal cockfighting event and multiple deceased or severely injured birds," the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said a statement.

An additional 143 birds were found in cages on the property about 50 miles (80 km) east of Los Angeles, the statement said.

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Officers with the county’s Department of Animal Services gathered all of the live roosters "and humanely euthanized them, a process that lasted until about 6 a.m.," according to a statement from that agency.

"The birds must be euthanized 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 added.

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An unidentified man who told officials he owned the birds was cited for possession of fighting blades used in cockfighting, which is a misdemeanor, officials said. The investigation is continuing.