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Thursday May 28th, 2015 4:00AM

Ten arrested, 36 birds recovered during rooster fight

By Rob Moore Reporter
HOMER - The Banks County Sheriff's Office has broken up a rooster-fighting operation in Maysville.<br /> <br /> On Saturday, May 24, 10 people were arrested and 36 birds were turned over to the Georgia Department of Agriculture after officers executed a search warrant at a field off Marion Cape Road.<br /> <br /> Chief Deputy Shawn Wilson said the rooster owners were gathered watching their birds fight when officers arrived.<br /> <br /> "Rooster fighting is a cruel and criminal offense that tortures animals, endangers the health and safety of the public, and is known to facilitate other crimes," said Sheriff Carlton Speed.<br /> <br /> Wilson said the roosters are believed to have been injected with performance-enhancing drugs and fitted with razor-sharp spurs to tear each other apart in a small pen surrounded by spectators.<br /> <br /> Fighting equipment also was located in a barn on the property.<br /> <br /> Each person arrested was charged with gambling and animal cruelty, both misdemeanors punishable by up to a year or a $1,000 fine.<br /> <br /> Because officers raided the operation early, before birds were seriously injured or killed, the charges were less than they could have been, Wilson said. Under Georgia's aggravated animal cruelty statute, the perpetrators could have been charged with a felony had rooster fights escalated to that level.<br /> <br /> Sgt. Carissa McFaddin said this is not the first time a rooster-fighting operation has been raided in that area.<br /> <br /> Wilson said the previous arrests occurred around 2005 and involved at least one of those arrested over the weekend.<br /> <br /> Money, two rifles and a pistol were seized during Saturday's arrests.<br /> <br /> Those arrested include: <br /> <br /> * Billy Ray Farmer, 52, of Maysville; <br /> <br /> * Clifford Doyle Gable, 32, of Carnesville; <br /> <br /> * Johnny Carlton Garrett, 58, of Clarkesville; <br /> <br /> * Dennis Gosnell, 56, of Maysville; Jonathan <br /> <br /> * Jonathan Dennis Gosnell, 32, of Homer; <br /> <br /> * Jackie Andrew Lee, 48, of Commerce; <br /> <br /> * Jimmy Ernest Marcus, 65, of Demorest; <br /> <br /> * Phil Harrison McDonald, 66, of Danielsville; and <br /> <br /> * Roy F. Wilson, 50, of Danielsville.
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