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STATESVILLE, N.C. — Officials said nine men were arrested and 29 roosters were seized after a large cockfighting bust Sunday afternoon in Statesville.

WSOC reported that several people tried running away when officers arrived at the home on Cove Gap Road. Officers said knives were attached to the animals’ legs so they could fight till the death.

Officials said a couple of roosters died Sunday night and 13 were already dead at the scene and thrown in a pile.

Officers said they also seized three dogs and six cars with cockfighting paraphernalia.

Neighbors said they occasionally heard roosters but were not aware of cockfighting.

“It’s everywhere. It’s a good old boy’s network, but it is cruelty to animals,” said Christina Royal, the director of the Iredell County Animal Services and Control, according to WSOC.

She said this is the first time she has seen a cockfight busted in progress. She said an anonymous phone call helped officials get to the fight as it happened.

The men arrested face charges including felony cruelty to animals and cockfighting. They could face up to two years in prison if convicted, depending on their prior records.

Source: WSOC.