Deputies investigating cockfighting ring in Lithia

- Hillsborough County deputies are investigating a cockfighting ring after they got a tip about the illegal activity Saturday.

Deputies were called to Lyons Avenue and Dickey Lane in Lithia where animal services found several live and dead chickens on a rural property off the dirt road.

When investigators arrived, deputies say several people suspected in the ring along with spectators scattered from the property.

"Upon arrival the units observed multiple trucks in the area upon which they abandoned the vehicles. About a dozen people ran into the woods," said Sgt. Harrison Bashner.

Cockfighting is a felony in Florida. Animal services say any recovered animals will be euthanized.

"It was well set up. It looked like it was going to be more of an in depth thing at that time. It's just we got there early," said Bashner.

Deputies say they are working to identify the ringleader of the cockfighting operation.

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