PENN TWP., Pa. - More arrests have been made in connection with a cockfighting ring that was busted in Berks County.
Clarence Miller, 71; Clark Miller, 75, and Lynn Lichtenwalter, 57, were charged Tuesday 46 felony counts for allowing their Penn Township farm to be used to house fighting roosters, and 11 summary charges for failure to provide veterinary care, sanitary shelter, and adequate water for one horse and three dogs, according to the Pennsylvania SPCA.
Pedro Cruz, 64, of Reading, was charged with two felony counts for owning fighting roosters.
Jesus Manuel Rodriguez Jr., 31, of Reading, was charged Aug. 7 with 10 felony counts of cruelty to animals for ownership of dozens of fighting roosters.
Based on the continuing investigation, Rodriguez is now charged with 21 felony counts and 21 summary counts for owning fighting birds and failing to provide sanitary shelter for them.
A court date for all five suspects is pending, officials said.
Animal welfare officers said they rescued more than 100 roosters, chickens and chicks, as well as a goat, a horse and three dogs.
"This is a huge case. We have multiple people involved with it. There were multiple animals that we rescued and that is a considerable amount of charges against these people," said Sarah Eremus, communications and marketing manager for the PSPCA.
"We have made it our commitment to hold these individuals responsible for their actions," Eremus went on.
People in the area say they are shocked to hear of such allegations.
"That is awful. I really, I love animals. But what they do is cruel," said Bessie Imbesi, a driver.
"That many charges and that kind of hits home. You hear about that in big cities or in other areas, but never where you are at. So, it is surprising," said Chris Cote, a driver.
Fortunately the PSPCA has been able to find a home for 43 of the birds and the goat they rescued within 72 hours of the bust.
All five people have been arraigned on $25,000 unsecured bail each. Their preliminary hearings are scheduled for September 23.
Reading was subpoenaed by federal authorities once again for documents pertaining to the city's last administration.Read More »
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