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Cockfights still a problem in Santa Barbara County

The Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Office cited 11 people after an anonymous tip led them to an active cockfight in eastern Santa Maria Sunday morning.

Deputies were tipped off about the cockfight happening in the 3500 block of Telephone Road at around 10:45 a.m.

When they showed up, 40 or 50 people were gathered under a plastic tent and scattered as deputies tried to stop the crowd from leaving the scene. 11 people were cited for witnessing a cockfight, while several others were cited for possession of cockfighting paraphernalia.

28 roosters were found at the scene, six dead, and five injured, including two that were euthanized on the spot.

The surviving roosters are being held at the Animal Services building in Santa Maria while the investigation continues.

“It always makes us sad to have to go out and respond to these types of things,” said Joe Avalos, a field supervisor with Santa Barbara County Animal Services. “These animals are being used as money machines, and simply dumped once they are dead.”

“It’s just shocking,” said Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Office public information officer Kelly Hoover. “It’s a disgusting sport, and it’s unbelievable that it is happening here in Santa Barbara County, but it is.”

No arrests were made. California is one of a few states where witnessing or taking part in a cockfight is only a misdemeanor.

Officials say the investigation is far from over. They believe some of the witnesses traveled from as far away as Los Angeles.

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