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Five arrested for suspected cockfighting

Posted at 12:54 PM, Oct 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-01 19:41:21-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — UPDATE -

"It's pretty upsetting, it's also baffling to me why anyone would think that this is a fun sport to go and watch," Nebraska Humane Society Director of Field Operations Kelli Brown said.

A year-long investigation led the Nebraska Humane Society and Belleve Police to the property on South 15th Street.

"We located numerous roosters being used for cockfighting activities and cockfighting breeding," Brown said. "We found various items of paraphernalia there as well."

The Humane Society says they seized 163 birds from the property.

Brown compares this bust to the one in Cass County last November where more than 180 birds were seized.

She says the birds at the Bellevue property were living in horrible conditions.

"There were quite a few birds that were housed inside of the barn area, and then also in outdoor coupes overall conditions weren't very acceptable either," she said.

Salvador Lopez, Bernabe Mendoza Chavez, Jose Gerardo Soria, Veronica Herrera and Jose Lopez all face felony charges.

"I know that we eat chickens and we eat cattle and things like that but when you're talking about putting an animal in a situation where it's last moments on Earth are going to be fighting for it's life, [or] fighting to the death of the other animal, then if it doesn't make it they're just going to throw it in the trash can and move onto another animal ... that's very disturbing to me." Brown says.

They also seized four dogs, four kittens and a goat from the property for animal neglect.

As for the birds that were saved, "right now they're being held at an undisclosed location, we're just doing our daily care with them," Brown said. "It's pretty difficult to re-home a rooster because it is going to try to go after other birds--anything that it sees it's going to want to go after."

Brown has a warning for anyone who's involved in any kind of animal fighting.

"Just know that in Nebraska we take this very seriously, it is enforced very strictly and if you're involved you're eventually going to be arrested," she said.

ORIGINAL -

Animal Control Officers from the Nebraska Humane Society seized a total of 163 birds from a Bellevue property suspected of cockfighting activities.

Salvador Lopez, Bernabe Mendoza-Chavez, Jose Gerardo-Soria, Veronica Herrera, and Jose Lopez were all arrested for felony cockfighting. The birds are currently being held and cared for by NHS at an undisclosed location while criminal prosecution remains pending.

Three of the four suspects are currently being lodged at Sarpy County Jail.

Four dogs, four kittens, and a goat were also seized from the same property for animal neglect.

Nebraska Humane Society shared this images of some of the seized animals:

This is the second largest of three cockfighting cases that NHS has seen during the past three years.

In 2018, a large cockfighting ring was exposed in Louisville.