CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Seven men were arrested after a noise complaint led deputies to a cockfighting event in Citrus County on Saturday, the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies said the property was set up with an arena, numerous cages, holding pens, timers and a scoreboard enabling bets to be placed on the fighting roosters.

Investigators said the men had traveled from all over the state with the intention of participating in the event.

“This was not your average noise complaint on a Saturday afternoon. Instead of CCSO deputies discovering a possible party with loud music, they found plain evidence of this organized criminal activity,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “Thank you to our citizens who contact us to investigate these types of nuisances because you are the eyes and ears’ helping us put criminals behind bars.”

Deputies said that the roosters had artificial fighting spurs affixed to their legs.

Investigators also said they found several freshly dug holes containing dead roosters.

“In this age of technology, it baffles and disgusts me that individuals will still seek out to harm animals for their pure entertainment,” said Lora Peckham, CCSO Animal Control Unit Supervisor. “I am extremely grateful to my team and the outstanding staff at Citrus County animal shelter for saving these helpless animals, working well into the midnight hours.”

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office’s animal control officers said they seized over 60 roosters, along with other animals that were not properly cared for and were in distress.

Detectives said they also seized the fighting equipment and $5,200 in cash that was used to place bets on the fighting roosters.

“Cockfighting is an illegal, gruesome sport with no place in our community,” Animal Services Director Colleen Yarbrough said. “Citrus County Animal Services staff will be collecting veterinary forensic evidence and providing care for the victims. We urge citizens to speak up about animal cruelty — if you see something, say something.”

Deputies said the following men were charged in the event:

  • Jose Hernandez.
  • Carlos Rodriguez Cortes
  • Ramon Castro
  • Rafael Lopez
  • Pedro Gutierrez
  • Elias Domenech
  • Melbin Mojica-Torres