MCSO investigates animal abuse

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MARION COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB) -- Roughly 60 roosters are in the care of Marion County Animal Services after Sheriff's deputies busted an illegal cockfighting operation.

Five men have been arrested so far in this incident for fighting or baiting animals.

On a day to day basis, Marion County Animal Services works with potential pet owners and animals in need.

"A concerned citizen brought a highly emaciated male dog to our facility as a stray. We in took the animal initially and we immediately provided a veterinary exam,” said Marion County Animal Services Director Jim Sweet.

This pup doesn't have a name yet but he has received veterinary treatment and is now under the supervision of staff who are nursing him back to health.

"So far he seems well. He is in good spirits,” Sweet said.

But in some cases, Animal Services partners with the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

"We're just not equipped to handle animals and we have a great animal control center here that does a wonderful job in these case,” said Public Information Director with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Sgt. Paul Bloom.”

Over the weekend, deputies busted an illegal cockfighting operation.

"…With this recent one with the cockfighting ring that was going on, we got quite a bit of chickens and they were in a horrible situation and our job, of course, is who responsible and make some arrests and we did, however now we have a lot of chickens that we didn't know what to do with and Animal Services came alongside and they were able to help us out with that,” Bloom added.

Five men have been arrested in this incident for fighting or baiting animals.

The roosters are being cared for at Marion County Animal Control.

"There are still some judicial processes to go about acquiring custody of these animals. They're comfortable at this moment,” Sweet said.

But ultimately the goal is to keep these animals safe.

"With animals especially, they're not able to defend themselves, they can't speak up for themselves sower's here to do that together in a partnership to speak up for them,” Bloom said.

This is still an open investigation and it is unclear at this time if the roosters will be put up for adoption.