More that 7,000 birds allegedly intended for use in illegal cockfighting were seized in the Val Verde area west of Santa Clarita, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced Tuesday.
Sheriff's Capt. Jeff Perry said he believes this is the largest such operation ever brought down anywhere in the US.
The law enforcement operation, which began on Monday, resulted in "one of the largest seizures of flying fowl used for illegal cockfighting and (for) breeding for illegal cockfighting purposes," sheriff's Deputy Lillian Peck said.
Several people were detained, pending further investigation, but were not immediately arrested.
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Cockfighting is a contest between two roosters fighting each other to death, and is illegal in every state, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Sharpened blades often are attached to the birds' legs.
"Cockfighters, or rooster handlers, let those birds who suffer injuries during cockfighting to go untreated — or throw the birds away in the trash afterwards," Peck said.
"Having the birds fight to death along with letting them go untreated is not only cruel, but oftentimes goes hand in hand with gambling, drug dealing, illegal gun sales, and murder," she said.