More than 70 birds seized in a police raid into an illegal Sydney cockfighting syndicate will likely have to be euthanased.
Police say the raid on the covert operation at a property on Camden Valley Way at Catherine Field on Sunday exposed a barbaric crime syndicate that was running to facilitate illegal betting.
Detectives raided the southwest Sydney property and found a designated cockfighting area, several large sheds with 71 fighting cockerels, as well as metal spikes, spurs and other cockfighting paraphernalia.
Organised Crime Squad Detective Superintendent Martin Fileman said officers also seized $107,170 and several electronic devices from the premises.
“This type of barbaric … practice involves persons fixing sharpened spikes … or small blades to the feet of two cockerels who in turn fight until one of the cockerels is either dead, seriously injured or can no longer fight,” he said on Monday.
Police arrested 35 men in the vicinity and will allege they were placing bets on the cock fights while police expect to charge then with animal cruelty and proceeds of crime offences.
RSPCA inspectors seized the animals, with some placed in veterinary care for serious injuries.
RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman said one of the birds had already been killed for compassionate reasons and it was likely it would be impossible to rehome the remainder because the birds had been specially bred to fight.
“What’s despicable about this activity is that these birds are literally fighting to survive,” he said.
“There’s only one outcome with organised cockfighting and that is an animal has to die.”
The investigation started earlier this year when detectives from the State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad, together with the NSW Crime Commission and RSPCA NSW, began investigating reports of animal cruelty.
Police believe it’s the first cockfighting ring to be busted in about 20 years.
A 35-year-old Heckenberg man was charged with contravening an apprehended violence order and was refused bail to appear at Picton Local Court on Monday.
A 28-year-old Cabramatta man was charged with drug possession and knowingly producing a false or misleading document and will appear at Picton Local Court on Tuesday.
A third man has been charged with being an illegal citizen.