NEW YORK, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- More than 3,000 birds have been seized and more than 70 people arrested in raids that New York authorities said broke up the state's largest cockfighting ring.
The Organized Crime Task Force conducted the raids based on information gathered by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Cruelty to Animals, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Sunday in a statement.
In a series of raids dubbed "Operation Angry Birds," cockfighting operations were broken up in Queens, Kings and Ulster counties, Schneiderman said.
"Cockfighting is a cruel, abusive and barbaric practice that tortures animals, endangers the health and safety of the public and is known to facilitate other crimes," Schneiderman said.
Seventy people were taken into custody at a cockfighting event in Queens Saturday night. Nine suspects were charged with felonies.
Fifty birds were found in a basement below a pet shop and investigators recovered about 3,000 birds at a farm in Plattekill.