3K Birds Saved in NY Cockfight Crackdown
'Operation Angry Birds' smashes NY ring
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2014 3:32 AM CST
This photo provided by the ASPCA shows "Operation Angry Birds" in upstate Ulster County, NY.   (AP Photo/ASPCA)
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(Newser) – Some 3,000 birds were rescued and nine felony arrests were made in a huge cockfighting crackdown that officials in New York state called "Operation Angry Birds." In a New York City raid, at least 70 NYPD officers accompanied by state troopers raided a basement cockfighting operation as spectators cheered a bloody fight, the New York Times reports. Scores of spectators were briefly detained and animal rescue officials took the birds, many of which were hanging in sacks on the walls, to safety.

Investigators also raided a Brooklyn pet store and a farm upstate, where thousands of birds raised and trained for fighting were rescued. The farm is believed to have supplied birds to fighting rings in several states, reports the AP. "The brutality that’s associated with this is shocking," says the president of the ASPCA, who was on hand for the basement raid. "If you have a soul, if you have a conscience, you know very quickly that this is a vile, vile betrayal of what’s right. These animals suffer horrifically."