April 17, 2014

Elyria
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Vet: Roosters were used for fighting

SHEFFIELD TWP. — The Sheriff’s Office plans to forward evidence it has collected to the county prosecutor’s office, which will determine whether charges should be filed in connection with allegations of cockfighting at a Sheffield Township property.
A veterinarian who examined some of the roosters that were taken from the property Sunday afternoon determined that the birds were used for cockfighting, sheriff’s officials said.
The veterinarian, whom authorities would not name, looked at 42 of the more than 70 chickens, mostly roosters, that were found by sheriff’s deputies and discovered injuries consistent with cockfighting, including scars on the chest, head and eyes, and a few of the birds were without feathers, sheriff’s Capt. Richard Resendez said.
“His opinion is that the roosters have been involved in that type of activity,” Resendez said.
The birds’ owners could face charges including animal cruelty, organized gambling, possession of criminal tools and other misdemeanor charges, Resendez said.
Deputies received an anonymous tip that cockfighting was occurring on a mostly vacant lot where Lowell Avenue dead ends. More than 40 people were gathered around the coop, which is the only structure on the half acre of gated land.
The owner of the property, a Lorain resident whose name the Sheriff’s Office has not released, told deputies that he and some friends were just having a picnic and that the birds are used for breeding. Food and beverages were found nearby.
After questioning the owner and guests for about two hours, no one was charged but their information was recorded, and they could be indicted later, Resendez said.
The birds were taken to an undisclosed location, where they are being cared for by local animal welfare activists.
Neighbors said they see dozens of vehicles drive down the quiet, rural road and into the property about once a month, but that they never suspected wrongdoing.
Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 or awright@chroniclet.com.