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Cockfighting probe continues in Halifax County

The investigation is continuing into an alleged cockfighting training facility in the Cluster Springs community, directly across the road from Cluster Springs Elementary School, according to Todd Moser, Halifax County chief animal control warden.

Moser said he executed a search warrant Tuesday afternoon at 7092 Huell Matthews Highway in reference to a possible cockfighting organization.

“We seized 54 chickens altogether,” Moser said. “Nineteen were fighting cocks and the rest were breeding hens.

“We also found cockfighting reading material, transport boxes and other numerous items related to cockfighting,” he added.

Moser said officials have had that location under surveillance for a period of time.

“We’ve been watching activity going on at the residence for about three months,” Moser said. “Plus we have had numerous calls from concerned citizens who have given us information, and we appreciate that.”

The chief animal control warden said the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Humane Society and South Boston Animal Control assisted his department.

Moser said telephone calls from several concerned citizens first alerted his department of a possible problem. “The concerns were about the nature in which the chickens were displayed out in front of the house in front of the Cluster Springs Elementary School,” he explained.

“The first callers were concerned that possible criminal activity was taking place across from the elementary school in sight of students,” he added.

Cluster Springs Elementary School Principal Lisa Long said she personally has heard no complaints from either parents or students. “All I heard was roosters in the morning when I would arrive,” she said. “I’m just a country girl, so I thought nothing of it.”

Moser said representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture determined Tuesday the roosters were fighting cocks. “The next step is to evaluate the seized chickens and roosters,” he said. “The Department of Agriculture will conduct tests on the birds to check for any kind of diseases or anything like that.”

The warden said cock fighting-related activities are new to Halifax County. “This is the first known case that I know of that’s ever taken place in Halifax County,” said Moser.

“It’s been in Pittsylvania County, Mecklenburg County and North Carolina. Our biggest thing is to put a stop to it before it actually gets a foothold here,” he added.

No charges have yet been filed, but Moser said Commonwealth’s Attorney Kim White would be making the decision if any charges will be filed in the case after she examines evidence findings.

Moser expressed his appreciation to the other agencies that assisted in serving the search warrant Tuesday.