A large cockfighting operation was taken down Saturday when authorities in Cass County arrested 32 people and confiscated 186 roosters at a farm near Louisville, Nebraska.
“Without a doubt, this was a very large-scale cockfighting operation,” said Mark Langan of the Nebraska Humane Society. “It was very large and very well organized. It was a huge task, and we received great cooperation from the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.”
Sign up for World-Herald news alerts
Be the first to know when news happens. Get the latest breaking headlines sent straight to your inbox.
The suspects, between the ages of 20 and 67, were arrested on suspicion of participating, viewing or promoting cockfighting and were in the Cass County Jail. Some were also arrested on suspicion of obstruction of a peace officer. Two juveniles were also detained and released to their parents.
Officers from the Cass County Sheriff’s Office and Nebraska State Patrol went to the farm at 11317 U.S. Highway 50 about 12:30 p.m. after the Nebraska Humane Society received an anonymous tip. Officers arrived and spotted numerous cars parked on the property, Cass County Sheriff William Brueggemann said in a written statement.
Officers spoke with two property owners who said that “they had no clue why there were so many people on their property,” Brueggemann said. Officers gained consent from the owners to investigate.
After authorities approached the east side of the property, numerous people flooded out of a barn and took off into the trees and fields to the north of the property, Brueggemann said. “Officers detained as many as they could, but many got away in the fields to the north and east of the property.”
After receiving a search warrant for the property, Cass County deputies, Cass County Emergency Management officials and the Nebraska Humane Society seized 186 live roosters. Authorities also found 11 dead roosters and another rooster that had to be euthanized at the scene.
Langan said deputies and animal control officers were at the property until 1 a.m. Sunday. Forensic veterinarians were also involved in the raid.
“We will hold the birds as evidence,” Langan said. “We, along with law enforcement, take cockfighting and dog fighting very seriously. Our reports will be submitted to the Cass County attorney for prosecution.”
Inside the barn, officers seized many items related to cockfighting, Brueggemann said, including blades and syringes. Officers also found a fighting pen.
The roosters inside the barn were in small boxes or crates. Many of the birds had fresh injuries apparently sustained while fighting.