Animal blood was splattered throughout the house in East Bethel. Dead fowl were piled in cabinets. Fighting rings lined the basement. Thirty roosters, two of them injured, scrambled in confusion.
As the Animal Humane Society rescued the remaining fowl Monday from what appeared to be the first cock-fighting bust in Anoka County in nearly a decade, one man sat in jail facing a felony charge.
Cher Kong, 35, was charged with animal fighting and cruelty to animals, according to the Anoka County attorney's office.
Twenty-four others were cited for watching and taking part in the activity, the Sheriff's Office said.
After receiving a tip around 3 a.m. Saturday, deputies arrived at the house to find several cars outside. When Kong answered the door, deputies saw a crowd of people, roosters scurrying about, blood and the dead fowl, officials said.
Humane Society investigator Keith Streff said it was the most sophisticated cockfighting operation he has seen in his 21-year career tracking animal exploitation. Uncovering a cockfight in progress is especially rare, he said.
"Normally it's a covert operation," he said. "We try to flush these people out and find their birds."
The fowl, most of which were Taiwanese fighting cocks, were being held at the Humane Society in Golden Valley while the investigation continues.
Because cockfighting is an underground industry, it's difficult to determine its prevalence, Streff said. "It's relatively isolated and done behind closed doors," he said. "If individuals are participating it in or get involved in it, they know how to go find it."
PAUL LEVY AND LIBBY NELSON