DUNKIRK - For the second time in just more than a month, authorities put an end to a cockfighting ring in Dunkirk on Thursday.
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office raided and eliminated an organized operation of the so-called sport at 3609 New Road in the Town of Dunkirk.
Acting on search warrants issued Wednesday by Town Justice Christopher Penfold, sheriff's deputies conducted a search of two properties and found a total of 256 fighting roosters, which were later euthanized by the SPCA as required by New York state law.
Chautauqua County Sheriff’s officers and SPCA officials look through pens for fighting roosters Thursday on New Road in the town of Dunkirk.
During the search deputies confiscated numerous fighting items including spurs, fighting dummies, antagonizing attack sticks, syringes and numerous bottles of pills used to enhance the roosters. An elaborate fighting ring was located inside the residence.
Issued an appearance ticket was 65-year-old Gilberto Rosas of 308 Robin St. in the city of Dunkirk. Rosas was charged for the prohibition of fighting animals, a Class E felony, and will appear in Town of Dunkirk Court at a later date. Also arrested was 63-year-old Jorge D. Rivera of 31 W. Beaver St. in the city. Rivera will also be in Town of Dunkirk Court.
''It appears to be an extensive cockfighting operation that has been ongoing at that location,'' Sheriff Joseph Gerace said early Thursday. ''There are animal rings and evidence of brutal fights.''
The arrests came after an investigation that began after the breakup of a similar fighting ring on Urban Road in the town of Dunkirk on Dec. 10.
''Through that case I gained information from a confidential informant that there might be a ring on New Road and it took me this long to put that one together,'' said lead Investigator Sgt. Peter Pett. ''It's a lot larger around here than we realized. This is the largest one broken up in Chautauqua County history.''
According to Pett, at least one other arrest is expected as a result of the ongoing investigation into the illegal activity that attracts spectators from all over Western New York. Pett also said he was told some of the birds were worth between $1,000 and $1,500.
Rosas and Rivera were charged under New York state Agriculture & Markets Law Article 26 Animals, Section 351- 2 - a,b,c,d and e. Penalties could include, ''imprisonment for a period not to exceed four years, or by a fine not to exceed $25,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment.''
Also under the law a person who owns, possesses or keeps an animal, ''under circumstances evincing an intent that such animal engage in animal fighting,'' is guilty of a misdemeanor that is, ''punishable by imprisonment for a period not to exceed one year, or by a fine not to exceed $1,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment.''
It is also against the law to be, ''a spectator having paid an admission fee or having made a wager at any place where an exhibition of animal fighting is being conducted.''