Almost two hundred fighting birds were recovered in a raid on a suspected cockfighting ring near Ligonier December 30.
Officers were sent to 10273 N 700 W at about 4:45 p.m. to investigate a tip of illegal animal fighting contests, according to the Noble County Sheriff's Department. Deputies were given permission by the renter of two barns on the property to check for illegal activities, and reportedly found what appeared to be blood and feathers in an arena style area.
That led police to obtain a search warrant, and a closer look allegedly revealed two arenas, one of which had clumps of feathers and bloody remains inside, along with what was described as animal fighting paraphernalia that included spur covers. As a result, police removed approximately 197 birds from the property, almost all of them roosters.
The Noble County Humane Shelter had to search for housing for the chickens, which because of their learned behavior had to be kept in separate cages. The animals were initially left at the farm while arrangements were being made.
Eleazar Sandoval, 34, of Ligonier, was arrested at about 8:30 p.m. as a result of the investigation. He was charged with possession of animals for fighting, possession of animal fighting paraphernalia, cruelty to animals, and holding animal fighting contests, and released on $4,500 bond after being booked into the Noble County Jail.
Units of the Indiana State Police and Ligonier Police Department assisted at the scene, and an investigation is continuing through the Noble County Prosecutor's Office.