DUBLIN (KPIX) – Hundreds of animals were seized from an illegal cockfighting ring in the East Bay. At least 600 birds were found at a rural property in Dublin.

Investigators said this was a large scale operation.

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Some of the participants were cited and released but now detectives are searching for the organizers of the cockfighting ring.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department acted on a tip and ended up seizing 600 birds, including 200 incubating eggs. Many of the birds kept in small pens.

On top of animal cruelty, Sgt. Ray Kelly with Alameda County Sherriff’s Dept. says there will be other charges.

“We are looking at illegal gambling, money laundering and it could go in a whole variety of directions these days,” said Sgt. Kelly.

More than 50 people were gathered inside an outbuilding on the rural property along Dublin Canyon Road. When officers arrived dozens ran off into the wooded area.

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“We are very upset about it,” said Kelly. “We did find some deceased birds at the location and we saw birds there that already been involved in some of the fights that had significant injuries. They end up putting these medical blades like talons on the feet of the birds and then they go and inject them with hormones and other drugs, and then they have these fights.’

The birds have been seized by the Sheriff’s Department. They say they see this kind of illegal animal cruelty all too often.

Christine Morrissey is with Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary, and has offered to take in the seized birds.

“So the birds that are used in cockfighting they live in tiny cages and are isolated from all other birds, the rooster specifically,” said Morrissey. “So here at the sanctuary we give them the entire opposite in terms of quality of life, and get to roam and be a part of a flock of chickens, and most importantly you’re treated with respect and not used and abused for illegal gambling purposes”

Deputies detained many people who admitted to coming to the area for cockfighting but authorities are still looking for the organizers .

“During this pandemic… just seeing this reminds us that we need to continue to not lose focus on animal cruelty issues,” said Kelly.

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Detectives are asking anyone with information to come forward.

Juliette Goodrich