SHEFFIELD TWP. — An anonymous tip led Lorain County Sheriff’s deputies to a Sheffield Township chicken coop to investigate allegations that cockfighting was taking place there Sunday.
Deputies went out to the property in a fenced-in area where Lowell Avenue dead ends about 4:30 p.m. and found more than 40 people gathered around the coop. Deputies had to wade through dozens of vehicles that parked on an acre to reach the coop, which is the only structure on the property.
Guests were questioned for about two hours while evidence was collected by six deputies and two auxiliary officers.
The owner of the property, whose name the Sheriff’s Department was not releasing Sunday night, denied any wrongdoing and told deputies he had invited friends over to have a picnic, according to Sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Ashdown. Food and beverages were found next to the group.
“Right now we’re investigating what happened,” Ashdown said. “We got a call that there might be some animal neglect or cruelty issues, so we’re taking the chickens to have them checked out to see if anything was going on.”
About 75 chickens, mostly roosters but with a few hens and chicks mixed in, were removed by the Friendship Animal Protective League, Lorain County Humane Society and Erie County Humane Society. The owner told deputies he used the chickens for breeding.
Ashdown would not discuss what was found but did say there were no dead roosters. Often in cockfighting, which is illegal in all 50 states, roosters fight to the death while people around them bet on which will win.
No one was charged Sunday, but Ashdown said information was collected on everyone involved and charges could be brought against some or all of them if a crime was committed.
Neighbors on Lowell Avenue said they see dozens of cars head down the quiet, rural road into the gated property about once a month, but never suspected anything criminal. The coop has been there for about 12 years, neighbors said.
Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CARL SULLENBERGER / CHRONICLE
A sheriff’s deputy leaves the property at the end of Lowell Avenue in Sheffield Township with bagged evidence obtained by the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday.