Twenty dogs and more than 1,000 hens and roosters have been rescued from a suspected animal fighting operation in Wisconsin.
On Aug. 30, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office went to a property in Gilman Township to execute a search warrant in connection with a methamphetamine charge, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. There, officers found scores of animals living in “deplorable conditions,” according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The ASPCA announced on Thursday that it is assisting with the case and has transported the animals to emergency shelters in undisclosed locations. Spokeswoman Alyssa Fleck told HuffPost in an email that the total number of chickens in custody is more than 1,700, and may continue to grow as chicks hatch. Because the matter is an ongoing investigation, Fleck was unable to provide additional information to HuffPost about the current condition of the animals.
Law enforcement believes they were being bred for dogfighting and cockfighting. Some of the dogs had scars and injuries consistent with dogfighting, according to the ASPCA. They were also tied to heavy chains that Sheriff Nancy Hove characterized to NPR as “almost logging chains.”
Roosters also had injuries that indicated they were being forced to fight, Hove told NPR, including foot cuts suggesting someone had tied razor blades to their feet. A barn on the property also contained a wooden box that Hove said appeared to be a fighting ring.
Two people living on the property were taken into custody, though as of Thursday they were not yet facing any charges related to animal cruelty because law enforcement was still processing the case. The Pierce County sheriff’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
This story has been updated to include a request for comment to Pierce County sheriff’s office.