Tuesday, February 11, 2014


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Dogs used to shepherd fighting chickens rounded up

PLATTEKILL – State and federal officials continue to investigate a massive cockfighting operation in the New York City area that raised and stored its birds at large farm in Ulster County and that operation could continue for the better part of the week.

Aside from the estimated 3,000 roosters and chickens caged up on the property, the Ulster County SPCA has herded up at least six dogs, mostly German shepherds and shepherd mixes that were on the property.

Ulster SPCA Executive Director Adam Saunders said Monday the canines appeared to have been placed there to watch over the birds, although they fed on them to sustain themselves.

“I’ve heard them referred to as watchdogs; I’ve heard them referred to as guard dogs. These are not aggressive animals. They didn’t respond basely to us at all. They certainly weren’t guarding the flock from humans, but perhaps they were guarding the flocks from fox or coyote or whatever else might be in the area,” Saunders said.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office spearheaded the operation, which included arrests in New York City as well as two in Plattekill, said this was the largest cockfighting operation ever in the state.