Nearly 50 roosters were being rounded up Wednesday after Paterson police out on a series of citywide pre-dawn drug raids discovered a major cockfighting ring at the end of a dead-end street.
Police arrested eight people and seized $2,300 in illegal proceeds, three bags of pot, two THC vape pipes and five Oxycodone pills during a 1 a.m. raid at the Sixth Avenue location, Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale said.
They also confiscated illegal steroids that Speziale said were being used to pump up the roosters, along with protective gear attached to some of their beaks.
The roosters – some stacked in cages, others roaming freely amid frozen water and filth -- were being taken to St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison, which handles distressed animals, the director said.
A new investigation is expected to produce animal cruelty charges, among other counts, he said.
Firefighters and city animal control officers assisted police in shutting down the operation, Speziale said.
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