LEE COUNTY, Fla.- On Monday at 12:32 a.m., the Lee County Sheriff's Office received an anonymous complaint about caged roosters at a residence in Fort Myers. The tipster had gone to the home as a potential buyer for the property listed for sale. A deputy with the Sheriff's Office Agriculture Unit was dispatched to assess the circumstances and confirmed a large number of roosters on the property. Due to the nature of the discovery, an investigation was initiated to look into the possibility the domestic fowl were being raised for cockfighting.
Detectives with the Sheriff's Office, along with deputies with the Agriculture Unit and officers with Lee County Animal Services, were assigned to investigate. As a result, a search warrant has been served at 5171 Neal Road in Fort Myers. Over 100 roosters, hens and chickens were on the property at the time. It's been concluded the livestock was being bred and used in illegal cockfighting. An area of the property was used for the fights. Beer bottles lined the shelves of a makeshift bar, while tables and cages for the roosters were adjacent for prepping the animals before placing them in the ring.
One person living at the residence has been arrested in connection with the operation. Roberto Torres, age 50 (d-o-b 84-63), is charged with s.828.122 (3a), F.S. baiting, breeding, training, transporting, selling, owning, possessing, or using any wild or domestic animal for the purpose of animal fighting or baiting; a third degree felony. He also faces a charge of owning, leasing, managing, operating, or having control of any property kept or used for such activity (s. 828.122 (3c), F.S.), also a third degree felony.
The animals have been inspected by a veterinarian and will be temporarily housed at the Sheriff's Office Detention Compound, agriculture impound area. As is customary, the fowl will have to be euthanized once a judges order is received.
Deputies also seized computers and log books they say Torres was using for record keeping. Sheriff Scott says information from those items is being retrieved and may lead to more arrests.