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Baltimore County man charged in connection to alleged Harford cockfighting operation, police say

A man was held without bail after a consortium of law enforcement and animal well-being groups shut down an alleged cockfighting operation Sunday, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office announced.

According to the sheriff’s office, animal control officers began an investigation into “cockfighting related activities” at a house on the 4300 block of Madonna Road in Street in May. On Sunday, around 2 p.m., sheriff’s office deputies, its animal control unit and Maryland State Police Special Operations Division, executed a search warrant at the property.

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One man who was on the property, Jose Luis Lopez-Villalba, 41 of Gwynn Oak, was arrested and charged with two cockfighting counts, aggravated animal cruelty and failing to provide for the birds, according to electronic court records.

While on the property, the Humane Society of the United States and other state organizations joined deputies. Evidence of cockfighting was discovered, according to the sheriff’s office, and 209 fowl were seized.

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Electronic court records do not list an attorney for Lopez-Villalba, who is being held without bail at the Harford County Detention Center.

In a statement, Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler thanked the deputies and agencies that worked on the case.

“It is hard to believe this type of animal cruelty could be occurring in our community, but it serves to illustrate that no place is immune from this type of activity,” he said.

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