More than 250 birds were rescued by authorities in Odenton, Maryland, on Monday as part of an investigation into a suspected cockfighting operation. The Anne Arundel County Police served a search warrant on a property where they suspected birds used for cockfighting were bred and housed. Anne Arundel County Animal Control safely removed the birds from the property, and The Humane Society of the United States assisted with evidence identification and collection, including suspected cockfighting paraphernalia such as knives and gaffs. Numerous dead birds were also found at the scene. One person was charged with possession of cockfighting implements and birds intended for fighting. Additional charges are pending as the investigation continues.

Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare said: “This inhumane activity has no place in Anne Arundel County, as it’s not only barbaric and cruel, but it’s often accompanied by other crimes including drug and weapons offenses. We appreciate the assistance and expertise of The Humane Society of the United States to help us root out this criminal activity in our community.”

Janette Reever, deputy manager of animal fighting response for the HSUS, said: “These birds were bred to be fought to the death with sharp knives tied to their feet. Cockfighting is an inhumane blood sport that we are working hard to eradicate in Maryland and nationwide. We are thankful for the Anne Arundel County authorities’ quick and efficient action to shut down this operation.”

The HSUS offers a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in dogfighting or cockfighting. Anyone with information about illegal animal fighting in their area can call the animal fighting tip line at 877-TIP-HSUS and information will be kept confidential.

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