PSPCA busts Berks Co. cockfighting ring

The Pennsylvania SPCA busted a cockfighting ring in Berks County today, rescuing as many as 100 birds, a goat, a horse and four dogs.

Early Thursday humane officers, responding to a tip, executed a search warrant on a farm in the 1100 block of Plum Rd. in Bernville. By evening they were still rounding up the animals at the  property.

One individual was arrested, but the PSPCA had not yet released the name of the person, who is facing felony charges of cockfighting as well as animal cruelty violations.

Officers are investigating evidence of cockfighting, unsanitary confinement, failure to provide veterinary care, and failure to provide adequate sustenance, the PSPCA said in a statement.

The horse was described as thin, bordering on emaciated. The goat and dogs had health issues too. A dead goat was found on the property as was a cockfighting ring and fighting paraphernalia, said Sarah Eremus, the PSPCA spokeswoman..

"Cockfighting, or fighting roosters, is a brutal crime," said Director of Humane Law Enforcement George Bengal. "It's a felony and we intend to hold those involved accountable."

The animals were to be transported to the PSPCA's Philadelphia headquarters where they will be evaluated by its forensic veterinary team.

"Animal cruelty knows no boundaries. The issues we see in the Philadelphia area are also present in other parts of the state, such as Berks." said PSPCA chief executive officer Jerry Buckley. "We expanded our Humane Law Enforcement coverage to Berks County earlier this year to investigate and prosecute these kinds of cases"

The raid was conducted with the help of the Humane Society of Berks County.