OREM, Utah — Thousands of chickens, including hundreds of baby chickens, were found when police uncovered a large cockfighting ring in Orem on Tuesday.
Utah County Sheriff's Office detectives made the discovery while serving a search warrant at a house in the 1400 South block of Geneva Road. The warrant was obtained because of reports of illegal drugs and cockfighting at the home.
Officers found Jose Meza-Basan, 32, in the basement of the home, along with the baby chickens. A search also found sharpened metal spurs that are tied to the legs of chickens to inflict more severe damage during cockfights.
In all, thousands of chickens were found on the property.
Animal Wellness Action, a group that aims to prevent animal cruelty, applauded the Utah County Sheriff's office for uncovering the ring.
"Cockfighting breeds a cesspool of illegal activity and is a dangerous threat to human health and safety. It’s a breeding ground for plagues to jump the species barrier to the human race as cockfighters often suck the blood out of roosters' lungs in mouth-to-mouth resuscitation-like contact so the gamecocks can continue the gruesome fight to their death,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action.
Basan was also found to have a fake ID and Social Security card in his possession when he was apprehended.
Basan was booked into the Utah County Jail and faces charges of aggravated cruelty to animals and possession of forgery.