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High Point man arrested in connection with rooster-fighting operation, Pinellas deputies say

Eleven birds were seized from the property, all with injuries and other signs of fighting.
Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]

HIGH POINT — A complaint about a possible rooster-fighting ring led to the seizure of 11 birds and the arrest of one man Friday in this unincorporated community east of Largo, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Juan Ortega, 49, faces charges of fighting or baiting animals and felony cruelty to animals, deputies said.

Deputies went to his Verona Avenue home Friday afternoon to help Pinellas County Animal Services check out the tip. From the road, deputies said, they could see several roosters, cages and what appeared to be a fighting ring.

Juan Ortega [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]

Ortega denied the deputies permission to search the property. After obtaining a search warrant, they said, they found 11 roosters, all with injuries and other signs of fighting. They also found a whip, training devices and syringes in the backyard.

Additional charges are pending after detectives found an apparent marijuana growing operation in a detached garage on the property, deputies said. They seized 20 marijuana plants.

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