On July 30, 2022, at approximately 12:27 pm, Citrus County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) deputies responded to 12599 S Florida Avenue in Floral City in reference to a noise complaint.

Noise Complaint In Floral City Leads To Seven Arrested In Cockfighting Ring

On July 30, 2022, at approximately 12:27 pm, Citrus County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) deputies responded to 12599 S Florida Avenue in Floral City in reference to a noise complaint.

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. – On July 30, 2022, at approximately 12:27 pm, Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) deputies responded to 12599 S Florida Avenue in Floral City in reference to a noise complaint.

Deputies immediately recognized the property was being utilized as a cockfighting venue and made contact with the homeowner, Mr. Jose Hernandez.

Six other individuals were detained by deputies in reference to the criminal activity taking place on the property. Citrus County Animal Control and CCSO’s Community Crimes Unit detectives responded to assist with the investigation.

“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.”

During the investigation, it was determined that individuals had traveled from all over the state with the intention of participating in the fighting of roosters. The property was set up with an arena, along with numerous cages, holding pens, scales, timers, and a scoreboard enabling bets to be placed on the fighting roosters. Behind the area were several freshly dug holes containing deceased roosters with artificial fighting spurs still affixed to their legs.

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“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.”

On July 30, 2022, at approximately 12:27 pm, Citrus County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) deputies responded to 12599 S Florida Avenue in Floral City in reference to a noise complaint.

CCSO’s Animal Control Officers seized over 60 roosters, along with other animals contained on the property that lacked proper care and were in distress. Detectives also seized the fighting equipment, along with approximately $5,200 in cash that was utilized for placing bets on the fighting roosters.

“Cockfighting is an illegal, gruesome sport with no place in our community,” stated Animal Services Director Colleen Yarbrough. “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.”

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