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California Briefing / Santa Maria

Alleged cockfight operation raided

March 12, 2009|Catherine Saillant

Santa Barbara County authorities raided a suspected cockfighting operation in the Santa Maria Valley this week, finding more than 800 chickens and items allegedly used to stage lethal cockfights.

Investigators believe roosters were bred at the ranch and sold over the Internet for up to $350 each. Nearly 500 of the fowl were roosters, but only 10 were confiscated as evidence, said Drew Sugars, spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

Tuesday's raid also turned up cockfighting videos, magazines, trophies and spurs that are strapped to a rooster's leg during battle, Sugars said.

Authorities declined to give an address for the ranch. No charges have been brought against the residents.

"We are still gathering evidence," Sugars said.

-- Catherine Saillant

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