More Arrests Possible in Des Moines Cockfighting Investigation

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Nearly 100 chickens, roosters, and chicks are now being cared for by the Animal Rescue League after an alleged cockfighting ring was busted in Des Moines.

Police say even though there wasn't an actual ring found at the suspect's home, there was enough evidence to arrest him. Mariano Martinez Ramirez is behind bars connected to this cockfighting operation and is charged with felony animal contest.

Channel 13 went to Ramirez's east side home and found the cages in which the birds used to live.

The mother of Ramirez's children had no comment.

"We did find that there are nearly 100 animals in the home, we did find some tools associated with cockfighting, they were definitely illegal to possess," said Sergeant Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department.

That combination paired with a neighborhood tip was enough to arrest Ramirez.

"They didn’t find a ring at that house so it’s likely that the actual fights are being held somewhere else. So as this investigation continues on, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if it expands to more arrests," said Parizek.

The investigation continues as ARL staff members like Carrie Spain work to care for the new flock.

"The first thing we did was put a shout out for all the volunteers, so we did have a lot of volunteer help, got us to help set up all the 80 extra cages," Spain said.

Right now, the birds require around the clock care.

"Didn’t see any that where hurt, you know, they were pretty healthy, they looked pretty good," said Tom Colvin of Animal Control Services.

The question that remains now is what will happen with all these birds next?

"Look towards adoption on all that will be appropriate to adopt," Colvin said.

"I don’t know how they run these things, but I would assume that getting the roosters is a critical piece to the operation. So we may have started up here, but we maybe are going to reach down, who knows,” Parizek said.