WELLS COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — At least 100 roosters, hens and chicks were found on a property in Ossian Thursday after a lengthy investigation by multiple agencies that began after authorities received tips about suspicious activity.
The owner of the property located at 4305 N. State Road 1 has been arrested according to a Facebook post by the Wells County Sheriff’s Office. He’s been identified as Kan Lay and the sheriff’s office indicated more people may be arrested.
According to the Humane Society of the U.S., search and seizure warrants were served at around 1 p.m. and the birds were found living outside or in multiple buildings and makeshift pens on the property. Dozens of chickens were found in a dilapidated barn and conditions were so filthy responders needed to wear masks to avoid inhaling dust and particles.
Some of the birds were found to have abrasions with feather loss on their head, chest or legs. What appeared to be a bloodstained arena was found on the property. Animal fighting experts on scene characterized it as a suspected cockfighting pit. More than 20 chairs were situated around the pit and cigarette butts littered the ground, indicating spectators would gather as roosters were staged against each other to fight.
“The lives of chickens bred for cockfighting are heartbreaking, and the only way to spare animals from these horrors is to end this cruel criminal activity,” said Samantha Morton, Indiana state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We are honored to work with the Indiana Gaming Commission and all the agencies involved in getting these birds out of this nightmare situation.”
”We will not tolerate animal fighting in our community,” said Wells County Sheriff Scott Holliday. “I appreciate all the agencies involved in this thorough investigation and response.”
The Indiana Gaming Commission requested the Humane Society’s assistance as part of an agreement where the agency helps aid in animal fighting cases.
The birds were taken to a safe location where they will be further examined by an avian veterinarian and cared for while the court process determines custody. Due to the high likelihood of the birds’ spreading infectious diseases such as avian flu to humans and commercial flocks, chickens rescued from cockfighting situations are typically not permitted to be adopted out, and are euthanized according to the Humane Society.
Indiana State Police, Ossian Police Department, Bluffton Police Department and Indianapolis Animal Care Services also assisted on-scene.