Police: Drug raid leads to discovery of cockfighting ring in Paterson

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Authorities who raided a Passaic County building as part of a drug investigation say that they also uncovered a cockfighting ring – including dozens of roosters and hens.

Paterson police raided the building around 1 a.m. Wednesday. Eight people were arrested, and authorities seized marijuana, steroids, opioid painkillers and about $2,300 in cash.

While at the site, authorities discovered a cockfighting arena and found 84 roosters. Authorities say that the birds were kept in a coop and outdoor cages.

“Deplorable conditions. No food, no water back there. They’re out in the elements. It’s snowing, it’s cold,” says Paterson Animal Control Officer John DeCando.

Investigators also found clippers, which authorities say were likely used to sharpen the roosters’ claws and other items to train and tease the animals.

Authorities also discovered a room that was likely used as an arena for the righting.

A man who works at the lot next door to the building tells News 12 New Jersey that he would often hear the roosters crowing.

“I heard. Everybody heard the chickens,” he says.

The roosters and hens were taken to Saint Hubert’s Animal Shelter - a sanctuary that cares for distressed animals.

“They will be processed by a vet. The Department of Agriculture will be notified. They have certain procedures that they’ll want,” says Jeff Eyre with Saint Hubert’s. “But today they’ll be recovered from here and placed in a shelter that we have set up in Madison.”

Authorities say animal cruelty charges will likely be filed in connection with the cockfighting operation, but for now, it remains under investigation.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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