After more than 200 chickens were removed from his southwest Missouri property, Berry D. Davis, 52, was charged with felony counts of fighting animals and animal abuse.
The Stone County, Mo., Sheriff's Office, with the help of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, rescued 231 chickens last week from a property suspected of conducting cockfights.
The sheriff's office had twice searched Davis' home north of Reeds Spring — once on March 2 and again on March 8. Deputies were initially looking for narcotics, but ended up finding more — items allegedly used in rooster fights.
Davis has been in custody since March 2 on charges of drug possession and stealing. Prosecutors filed more charges against him on Friday, including two counts of fighting animals and a count of second-degree animal abuse.
Items they found included gaffs and spurs, used to equip roosters for fighting, the ASPCA said in a news release.
The chickens found there also had injuries consistent with cockfighting. Birds were found to be "living in makeshift wire cages, many without access to proper food or water," the ASPCA added.
The organization helped deputies with evidence collection, medical assessments and ongoing care of the birds at a temporary shelter in an undisclosed location with support from the Great Plains SPCA in the Kansas City area.
"Cockfighting is a heinous form of animal cruelty that causes unimaginable suffering for the birds who are forced to fight, and the ASPCA is committed to tackling organized animal fighting across the country,” Tim Rickey, vice president of ASPCA field investigations and response, said in a statement. “The ASPCA encourages the public to alert authorities when they suspect animal fighting activities in their communities, and we commend the Stone County Sheriff’s Office for taking swift action with this investigation."