Seville, FL - Volusia County Animal Services Director Adam Leath is asking the public to say something when they have concerns about possible animal fighting in their neighborhood. This comes after his agency took 248 birds from a home in Seville overnight.
Leath says that because of well-intentioned neighbors looking out for animals and other members of the community, his agency was alerted to the problem. "We received a number of complaints from individuals in and around that area. Due to those complaints and subsequent follow-up by Animal Services we were able to execute a search warrant at that property."
Animal Services officers and Volusia Sheriff's deputies served the warrant at 10 p.m. Monday (November 2) night and worked through the night collecting the birds, cockfighting paraphernalia, and evidence that the chickens were being injected with vitamin supplements to help them gain weight, a common practice with birds that are being groomed to fight.
Sadly, according to Leath, all of the birds had to euthanized because there is no effective rehabilitation as the birds are bred to be aggressive. There's also the possibility of disease. "Many of these bird populations are held in very unsanitary conditions and these birds were as well. There is a high likelihood of things like avian influenza, salmonella, all of these things are very communicable."
No charges have been brought, yet. Leath says his agency will be submitting their case file to the State Attorney's office. He says that there are a number of individuals that they know are associated with the property and they were present when the warrant was executed.
The evidence includes the birds themselves, some of who have been anatomically altered, with combs and wattles cut off, and their spurs sharpened and modified to hold knives. Leath says this is a very brutal and barbaric activity and that he would stop short of calling it a sport as there's nothing sportsman-like about it.
Leath is asking anyone with information related to alleged animal fighting, whether it's dogs or birds, as there are also dog-fighting rings in Volusia County. If you have concerns, please contact Animal Services at 386-248-1790.