Pennsylvania SPCA busts cockfighting ring on farm in Berks County

PSPCA: Cockfighting ring busted in Berks

PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania SPCA said it has busted a cockfighting ring on a farm in the Bernville area of Berks County.

Humane law enforcement officers, citing animal cruelty violations, said they rescued between 50 and 60 birds, a goat, a horse and four dogs from the farm on Plum Road.

"This is a big case. We are talking about more than 100 animals being rescued from this farm," said Sarah Eremus, the communications and marketing manager for the PSPCA.

Responding to a tip, the PSPCA found hundreds of animals housed in different buildings on the property when it executed a warrant to search the farm Thursday morning, officials said.

"We saw situations including unsanitary confinement as well as lack of veterinary care and lack of adequate sustenance," said Eremus.

The officers also discovered the cockfighting ring and cockfighting paraphernalia.

"Cockfighting, or fighting roosters, is a brutal crime," said George Bengal, the PSPCA's director of humane law enforcement. "It's a felony and we intend to hold those involved accountable."

One person has been arrested, but the PSPCA declined to release the suspect's name or reveal the farm's location.

The animals will be transported to the PSPCA's headquarters in Philadelphia, where they will be evaluated by a forensic veterinary team, officials said.

"Animal cruelty knows no boundaries. The issues we see in the Philadelphia area are also present in other parts of the state, such as Berks," said Jerry Buckley, the PSPCA's CEO. "We expanded our humane law enforcement coverage to Berks County earlier this year to investigate and prosecute these kinds of cases."

A dead goat was also found at the farm.

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