SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. - On Monday, authorities in Los Angeles County confiscated 7,000 birds in what they're calling the largest cockfighting raid in U.S. history.
What are typically non-aggressive farm animals have been routinely transformed into fighting weapons in our area over the years.
"It's fairly prevalent within the county and Santa Barbara County. We're close neighbors to Santa Maria and there seems to be a large concentration of cockfighting in the Santa Maria area," explains Sergeant Jeff Nichols from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office.
Most recently in SLO County, the Sheriff's Office served search warrants in Los Osos and found 18 roosters used for cockfighting. They say you can tell it's being primed to fight, just by looking at the bird
"The comb on the top of their head is cut off, also the same would apply for underneath their beaks is also cut off and that's to prevent injury during a fight," Nichols says.
The SLO County Sheriff's Office says that authorities haven't found an actual cockfight in progress since 2013. Still, they hope people stay vigilant if they find their neighbors doing anything suspicious.
"I would encourage everybody to contact the sheriff's office to report it - it's our responsibility to investigate and determine if there's any criminal activity going on. You can also call CrimeStoppers anytime and leave a tip anonymously," Nichols explains.
The 18 birds that were found in Los Osos still remain on the property. The Sheriff's Office says they are unavailable for adoption because they were bred specifically for fighting. They're asking the District Attorneys' office for felony and misdemeanor charges for the suspects involved