Illegal cockfight busted in East Bay

About 600 chickens were recovered after authorities busted an illegal cockfight in the East Bay where roosters likely fought to their deaths during "coliseum-style gladiator fights."

The raid was the result of a tip called in to the Alameda County sheriff's office about dozens of people congregating - despite the shelter-in-place order - and watching the fight, said Sgt. Ray Kelly.

"It's a severe form of animal cruelty," Kelly said. "Those birds go into those fights, and usually only bird comes out alive."

Skyfox flew over the sprawling property on Dublin Canyon Road, just south of Intersatate 580. Investigators say the cockfight was held inside an outbuilding.

From the ground, a gated home all but shielded the operation.

Kelly said investigators sent up the Oakland police helicopter before raiding the property Saturday with the help of Dublin police and the California Highway Patrol.

"When law enforcement arrived, all those individuals began to run for the hills," Kelly said.

About 10 people were detained, but no arrests were made. Investigators are trying to identify the ringleader of the operation. Kelly said the homeowner subletted the property.

Deputies found more than 120 roosters, 59 hens, 400 chicks and unborn fowl.

"There were bird cages, there were up to 600 birds if you include the chicks and several hundred eggs that were being incubated," Kelly said

Some birds didn't make it, including at least two chicks.

"We also found birds that had serious injuries to their extremities, where they had been sliced by these razor knives that are put on their claws," Kelly said.

Kristin Rickman, a division manager with PETA said, "Cockfighting is one of the most cruel blood-sports."

She said the roosters were most likely were shot up with performance-enhancing drugs.

"The birds are doped up with amphetamines and other drugs to make them more aggressive so that they will fight in the ring to the death," Rickman said.

None of the recovered chickens had to be euthanized, at least for now, Kelly said. Investigators and non-profit groups are caring for the fowl while trying to find those responsible for the fight.