WATSONVILLE (CBS SF) – A man was arrested Friday near Watsonville, after deputies discovered nearly two dozen malnourished chickens and roosters, in addition to evidence the man was putting on cockfights, sheriff’s officials said Monday.

At 6:59 p.m., deputies went to the home of Ruben Lopez in the 100 block of Buena Vista Drive to do a probation search of Lopez.

Ruben Lopez. (Santa Cruz Co. Sheriff's office)

Ruben Lopez. (Santa Cruz Co. Sheriff’s office)

During the search deputies allegedly found 22 malnourished chickens and roosters on Lopez’s property, rooster-fighting knife blades and leather straps used to attach the blades to the rooster’s legs, according to sheriff’s officials.

Deputies also allegedly found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Lopez was booked into the county jail on suspicion of having bird fighting equipment, as well as possession of narcotics for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Deputies said these cockfighting blades were found on Ruben Lopez's property near Watsonville during a probation search on August 25, 2017. (Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office)

Deputies said these cockfighting blades were found on Ruben Lopez’s property near Watsonville during a probation search on August 25, 2017. (Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office)

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter officials took custody of the 22 birds found on the property, sheriff’s officials said.

In April, Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter officials sought the public’s help to find a person or persons involved in alleged animal fighting, after animal control authorities allegedly found a total of 77 dead roosters dumped in two separate rural areas near Watsonville.

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