YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown Police were investigating another chicken fighting report — its second such investigation this week.
Police investigated a reported cockfighting ring on Myron Avenue Tuesday. On Thursday, the police department executed a search warrant at 576 E. Lucius Ave. They were joined by the U.S. Marshals, the Mahoning County Dog Warden’s office and Animal Charity of Ohio, Inc.
Twenty-nine hens and roosters were found inside. All of the birds were OK, but some had injuries, according to Shalyse Bolash, executive director Animal Charity of Ohio.
Bolash said Animal Charites received a tip from people in the neighborhood, who said they heard chicken noises in the basement of the E. Lucius Avenue home.
“This is the first time in my five years that I’ve ever been aware, or that we’ve ever had a chance like this to stop chicken fighting,” she said.
The owner of the birds told investigators that he was raising the chickens to ship to Puerto Rico. He denied the chickens were being used for fighting.
Annette Bragg, of Happy Trails Farm Animal Santuary, said there were signs that the birds could have been used for fighting, however. Happy Trails was at the scene to help transport the hens and roosters.
“There were combs cut, which does indicate cockfighting. Combs cut, waddles cut, spurs cut,” Bragg said.
Investigators are looking into whether the people living in the home were involved in fighting or just breeding the birds.
“There’s a lot of profit in just the raising and training, so some people stick to that aspect, but it is still a part of cockfighting in general,” said Humane Agent Mark Noday.
There were several children in the home, and three small dogs in poor condition were also taken by Animal Charity.
Animal Charity will talk with prosecutors on Friday about possible charges. Noday says charges can range from violating the city’s ordinances to animal cruelty and fighting charges.