While executing a warrant on August 30 that related to a methamphetamine charge, law enforcement officials discovered more than a dozen dogs and over 1,000 roosters and hens on the property, all living in “deplorable conditions.” Officers consider it likely that the dogs, roosters, and hens are a part of a single animal fighting operation.
The property where the animals were living was located in Gilman Township, Wisconsin, according to a report by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
US marshals based in Minnesota went to the property looking for Houa Yang, planning to arrest him on a felony methamphetamine charge. When they arrive, they also discovered the animals, as well as a marijuana-grow operation, four pounds of methamphetamines, and a pound of dried marijuana.
After making the discovery, the marshals contacted the sheriff, who came to the location to arrest Senyen Vang on drug charges. Both Yang and Vang lived on the property.
According to a statement from Pierce County Sheriff Nancy Hove, neither Yang nor Vang have been charged with animal cruelty at this time because the scene was still being processed.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is assisting local law enforcement with evidence collection in relation to the suspected dog and cockfighting operation.
Many of the dogs on the property had scars and injuries, and were being restrained with heavy chains. Roosters with physical alterations common to cockfighting were also discovered. Additionally, paraphernalia related to animal fighting operations and drugs were also recovered.
The ASPCA took the animals, placing them in temporary emergency shelters and under the care of veterinary and animal behavior specialists until the issue of custody is settled in court.
According to Hove, it is the second-largest animal fighting bust in the country within the past two years.
“When we are made aware of any animal cruelty issues, we do the best we can to investigate and hold those responsible accountable for the suffering they’ve caused these animals,” said Hove.
In Wisconsin, engaging in animal fighting, including possessing dogs or roosters for the purpose of having them participate in fights, is a felony. Being found guilty can result in a prison sentence of up to 3.5 years for first offenders as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
Both Yang and Vang were taken into custody.