Police in Van Buren County busted a cockfighting operation Sunday night, finding dead roosters among an array of other stolen items.
Sheriff Dale Gribler says his deputies responded to an anonymous call at around 9:50 p.m. of a possible cock fight going on in the 56,000 block of 48th Ave. in Lawrence Twp.
When the officers arrived they confronted the owner, Bobby Johnson, 32, of Lawrence Twp. who showed the deputies a coop of roosters and hens he said he raised. As they looked around, the deputies noticed blood and feathers in the dirt of a pole barn. Johnson confessed to having fought one rooster earlier that night.
Officers obtained a search warrant and searched the remainder of the premises, finding and confiscating 18 dead rooster, a stolen quad runner and mini-bike, as well as over $5,000 cash, paperwork and paraphernalia relating to cockfighting.
The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Dept. announced Johnson was arraigned in 7th District Court on three felony counts of animal fighting, each carrying five years prison time. He also faces an additional misdemeanor charge of receiving and concealing stolen property.
Johnson is being held on $20,000 cash bond, a pre-trial date has been set for Mar. 12 at 8:30 a.m.