In Wells County, authorities have shut down an illegal cockfighting operation after receiving tips about suspicious activity on the property. According to a post by the Wells County Sheriff’s Office, the property owner, identified as Kan Lay, has been arrested. More individuals may also be arrested.
Cockfighting is illegal in the state of Indiana.
Around 100 roosters, hens, and chicks were found on the property. The birds were living on the property and were found outside, in multiple buildings, or in makeshift pens. Dozens of chickens were also found in a dilapidated barn. Responders needed to wear masks to avoid inhaling dust and particles as the conditions were so filthy.
Some of the birds were found to have abrasions with feather loss on their head, chest, or legs. A blood-stained arena was also found on the property, with experts concluding that the area was used as a cockfighting pit.
There were also more than 20 chairs situated around the pit, with cigarette butts littering the ground, indicating that spectators would gather as roosters were made to fight.
The Indiana Gaming Commission requested the assistance of the Humane Society as part of the agreement where the agency helps in animal fighting cases. The Indiana State Police, Ossian Police Department, Bluffton Police Department, and Indianapolis Animal Care Services also assisted on-scene.
Wells County Sheriff Scott Holliday stated, “We will not tolerate animal fighting in our community. I appreciate all the agencies involved in this thorough investigation and response.”
Samantha Morton, Indiana state director for the Humane Society of the United States, commended the action of the authorities.
“The lives of chickens bred for cockfighting are heartbreaking, and the only way to spare animals from these horrors is to end this cruel criminal activity. We are honored to work with the Indiana Gaming Commission and all the agencies involved in getting these birds out of this nightmare situation.”
The birds were taken to a safe location where they will be further examined and cared for by an avian veterinarian while the court process determines the custody.
According to the Humane Society, chickens rescued from cockfighting situations are usually not permitted to be adopted out due to the high likelihood of the birds spreading infectious diseases, such as avian flu, to humans and commercial flocks. Instead, the birds are euthanized to prevent the spread of disease.