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Rooster fighting arena discovered in east Bradenton; roosters euthanized

MANATEE -- A rooster fighting arena was discovered in east Bradenton, and officials were forced to euthanize all the roosters found there, according to the Manatee County sheriff's office.

While on routine patrol Wednesday, a sheriff's deputy heard shots fired. When he went to track the source, he found several coops and cages of roosters and chickens in the backyard of a home on the 2000 block of 30th Avenue East, a sheriff's report stated.

Ricardo Velazquez Rodriguez, 51, was arrested Thursday night. He faces charges of fighting or baiting animals, owning, managing or operating animal fighting or baiting facility and promoting or staging animal fighting. All charges are third-degree felonies,.

"The roosters had their crowns cut off and their spurs filed down," the report stated. "A couple of roosters showed signs of recent fighting and had their feathers plucked to their hind quarters."

Rodriguez is being held in the Manatee County jail.

The roosters were euthanized on a veterinarian's recommendation, said Dave Bristow, sheriff's office spokesman.

"We wanted to place them," Bristow said. "But unfortunately, they were trained to fight."