Suspected cockfighting operation busted in Montgomery County

Animal services officers in Montgomery County, Maryland, have seized 100 roosters and hens that they believe were involved in illegal cockfighting.

The Silver Spring man who owns the Burtonsville property where the birds were caged has been charged in the investigation. Raymond Romig, 59, faces 22 charges of aggravated cruelty to animals.

According to the county’s Animal Services and Adoption Center, one of its officers noticed the roosters during a routine visit to the Bell Road property Nov. 18. The officer noted that some of the roosters had their combs and wattles removed, which authorities said is typically done to gamecocks to prevent bleeding and impairment of the bird’s vision during a fight.

The birds were removed from the site Nov. 21. Romig was charged Nov. 26.

Cockfighting is a centuries-old blood sport, often involving gambling. Razor-sharp steel blades are tied to the gamecocks legs to allow the fighting birds to slash each other. And while it’s illegal in all 50 states, cockfighting continues to persist across the nation, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

The Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center is a branch of the Police Department.

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