Kentucky State Police Bust Suspected Cockfighting Operation

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky State Police raided an alleged cockfighting operation in eastern Kentucky on Friday, and cited 10 people with misdemeanor animal cruelty charges.

Property owners Clyde Cecil Johnson, 73, and Shirley Doris Johnson, 70, were cited for misdemeanor animal cruelty and not having a permit for operating a place of entertainment, according to a police press release. Eight others were cited for misdemeanor animal cruelty.

Mrs. Johnson said she "had no beef with the cops" and did not deny the allegations. She said she had "tried to run an honest business" and did not consider roosters as animals.

"A rooster ain't an animal, it's a fowl. A rooster is two-legged, an animal is four," she said in a telephone interview.

"I think they need to get out and get all the drug dealers and get them off the streets."

State police started investigating the operation, just outside of London and about 150 miles southeast of Louisville, earlier this year, Lt. Curtis O'Bannon said. Between 80 to 100 people were watching a rooster-fight at "CJ Pitts" at the time of the raid, Lt. Curtis O'Bannon said.

"We've actually been investigating it for a while," O'Bannon said in a telephone interview.

Organizers had established a Web site for the operation, advertising the dates and times it would be operational, O'Bannon said. Spectators were charged $10 to enter, and the ring had a full-service concession stand.

During the raid, three people had outstanding warrants for unrelated matters and were also arrested, O'Bannon said. People in attendance were dispersed, he said.

Meanwhile, the roosters were returned to their owners, O'Bannon

"Those were considered personal property and everyone was allowed to keep their property," O'Bannon said.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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