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Police uncover cockfighting training center involving 750 roosters

Ramiro Marin and Gerardo Ortiz

Ramiro Marin and Gerardo Ortiz

Will County Sheriff’s Police recently arrested two Joliet men after uncovering a cockfighting training center in Homer Glen that involved 750 roosters.

Gerardo Ortiz, 32, of the 500 block of Chase Avenue and Ramiro Marin, 50, of the 200 block of Anderson Avenue were booked into the Will County Adult Detention Facility last week on preliminary charges of aggravated cruelty to animals and owning an animal for sport fighting.

Cockfighting, illegal in every state except Louisiana, involves fighting roosters, called gamecocks or cocks. They spar with razor blades or sharp metal spikes attached to their feet.

Will County Sheriff’s Police Spokesman Kathy Hoffmeyer said investigators found “evidence of extensive training and grooming” on the property near the intersection of Bruce and Cedar roads, but “no evidence of cockfighting.”

Sheriff’s Police and Will County Animal Control investigators visited the property on the 14800 block of West Bruce Road after receiving a tip about suspicious activity there, Hoffmeyer said.

The two men relinquished custody of the chickens to Animal Control, which intended to euthanize them, Hoffman said.

Will County records show the property is owned by Norman F. and Jacqueli Derby. Hoffmeyer said the men told investigators they were leasing the property, but she said she didn’t know how long they’d been there.

Hoffmeyer said the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office may bring other charges.

In April 2002, Will County authorities confiscated approximately 1,000 gamecocks after Sheriff’s Police found a barn-turned-cockfighting arena on the 25600 block of West U.S. Route 30 near Plainfield. The 61-year-old proprietor later pleaded guilty to promoting animal fighting.

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