KNOX, Ind. — The Starke County Sheriff’s Department arrested 76 people Saturday morning after officers raided an animal fighting contest in Knox, police say.
Just before 11 a.m., police responded to an anonymous tip that 50 people were participating in an animal fighting contest west of Knox, at 100 W, south of State Road 8.
When police arrived, multiple people ran and abandoned fighting cock paraphernalia and several vehicles parked in the area.
Police arrested over 76 suspects after running through muddy fields, ice-covered ditches and wooded areas. Officers found other suspects hiding in ditches and hollowed-out trees. One juvenile that was harbored by an adult was found without shoes. The juvenile was taken to Starke Memorial Hospital and treated for frostbite.
Police say they arrested a person who was described as a Hispanic male for organizing the event, and many others were arrested for promoting animal fighting and attending. Twelve of them are facing felonies for bringing the roosters to the fight. The other 64 are facing misdemeanors. It is a class A misdemeanor to attend an animal fighting contest and it is a Class D felony to promote the use of animals or attendance at an animal fighting contest.
As of Monday morning, all but one of the people arrested have bonded out.
Only the suspects facing felonies were held at the Starke County Jail. The others were released with citations and court dates.
A school bus was called to the scene to transport the suspects to the jail.
145 fighting cocks were seized and transported to the Starke County Humane Society for euthanization.
Officers also obtained and served a search warrant seizing 13 firearms, 29 vehicles, drug paraphernalia, and cock fighting paraphernalia.
Police also say vendors were at the event selling food and drinks.
Those arrested traveled from various states including Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan.
In May, 2006, police raided a cock fight in the Grovertown area of Starke County. Police arrested 52 people and seized 60 roosters in that case.