Police have seized nearly 400 roosters and chickens from what is being called an illegal cockfighting operation on a western Massachusetts farm.
Officials with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the birds, which including about 150 hens and chicks, were removed from a barn at Ravenwold Greenhouses in Northampton on Friday.
Animal control officers discovered signs of cockfighting during a barn inspection which included gloves used during fights and a bag of medication commonly used to cockfight. Other hints included roosters with sharpened spurs and an area with blood splatters. State law prohibits anyone from training animals for cockfighting.
The farm's owner says he rented the space to another person and had never been inside.
The birds were brought to the MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen where officials say nearly all of them will have to be euthanized due to their aggressiveness.
"Sadly, they cannot be rehabilitated or re-trained and nearly all of them will have to be euthanized. The MSPCA cannot place them into homes as they would kill or attack any other bird (or other animals) that are nearby," the MSPCA said in a statement.
Due to the large number of birds brought to the Methuen facility, MSPCA officials had to temporarily close the barn to public access for at least this week.
Police continue to investigate the alleged operation in Northampton. No suspects have been arrested.