VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach Animal Control is investigating a case of cockfighting.
Officers believe this might be the first cockfighting ring ever in the city.
On Tuesday, a lone hen was left in a sea of cages behind a Virginia Beach home.
“The cruelty started the investigation and that’s what lead us to the scene,” said Animal Control Supervisor Meghan Conti.
When officers arrived at the home Monday on Dam Neck Road they found pens full of chickens. Some they believe were being raised to fight.
“The way it was designed led to some concerned as far as the purpose of the animals on the property,” Conti added.
Offices tell 10 On Your Side 52-year-old Emmanuel Garcia signed over more than 200 chickens to Animal Control. He was arrested and charged with 10 counts of Animal Fighting.
Garcia is being held in jail without bond. He is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing in September.
“I can tell you the Animal Control officers worked extensively on this one investigation,” Conti said.
Animal Control could not get into the specifics of the cockfighting ring, but did say the investigation continues.
Officers also arrested 75-year-old Rolando Geronimo. He’s been charged with 12 counts of animal fighting. He is currently out on bond.
Conti says all the chickens have been taken to an offsite location while Animal Control waits for word from the state veterinarian to decide what’s next.
“There are some concerns with any poultry as far as viruses, bacteria and diseases of that nature,” Conti added. “We have to take that into consideration.”