Rooster fighting investigation in Town of Newark

Posted: Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 ----- 7:00 p.m.

He's behind bars accused of raising roosters to fight, and drug charges; setting up shop in a local community. And Friday, he made his first appearance in front of a judge. 37-year-old Jorge Marquez appeared in court. His bond has been set at $22,000. Part of the bond agreement, Marquez must allow officers to come to his residence whenever they choose, to check on the well being of the animals.

Marquez is being held on three different counts- and all are felony charges. They include instigating fights with animals, maintaining a drug trafficking house and possession with intent to deliver marijuana. Marquez is expected to be in court again on July 16th.

This quiet road in the Town of Newark lined with trees has been holding a secret; this home is the scene of an investigation. Homeowner Jorge Marquez now behind bars accused of raising roosters to fight. It's a case that's caught law enforcement by surprise.

"It was a breeding center for the roosters to be raised in an environment to become aggressive and then sold," said Captain Jude Mauer of the Rock County Sheriff's Office. An investigation began four months ago, and earlier this week a search warrant was issued. Authorities' suspicion became a reality. He added, "the roosters were housed individually, the ratio from roosters to hens which was three to one, and the way that the roosters were groomed."

61 roosters and 20 hens were taken to a veterinarian, but he say's the animals were so aggressive, it was hard to do a full examination. something that he's never seen before.

"In my 23 years of practice it's the first time I've been associated with the investigation regarding cock fighting," said Dr. Scott Spaulding with Badger Veterinary Hospital.

Authorities believe the roosters were brought to the area from Mississippi and Kentucky. They're not sure if the animals fought on the property. Marquez also behind bars on drug related charges. Investigators finding 16 pounds of marijuana during the search. Mauer added, "one deputy went down into the crawl space and retrieved the bag, and ultimately opened it up and there was 16 pounds of marijuana in the bag."

Now, the fate and well being of the animals still in question. Spaulding added, "these are pretty aggressive animals, they're put into a small enclosure and they fight to the death." The roosters are now back at Marquez' home. Law Enforcement says to transport the animals to the humane society would've cost $20,000, it was just too expensive for the county.

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