From the Harford County Sheriff’s Office:
In May of 2021, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Criminal Investigations Division and Animal Control Unit began an extensive investigation into cockfighting related activities at a property in the 4300 block of Madonna Road in Street, Maryland.
On Sunday October 3, 2021, at approximately 2:00 p.m., HCSO Detectives, with assistance from the HCSO Special Response Team, members of the HCSO Animal Control Unit, and Maryland State Police Special Operations Division, executed a search warrant at the property. The suspect, Jose Luis Lopez-Villalba, age 41, with an address in Gwynn Oak, MD, was on the property and taken into custody without incident.
Once the property was secured, Detectives were joined by members of the Humane Society of the United States and other State partners. After a thorough search of the property, multiple pieces of evidence indicative of a cockfighting operation were seized, in addition to 209 fowl. The Humane Society of the United States assisted with field assessments, animal handling and identifying cockfighting paraphernalia at the request of the HCSO. Members of the Humane Society of the United States, accompanied by licensed veterinarians, conducted a wellness check on each bird located on the property. The Humane Society documented each bird and any illnesses identified by the veterinarians.
Lopez-Villalba was transported to the Harford County Detention Center where he was charged with several offenses related to Animal Cruelty, including abuse and neglect of an animal, attending cockfighting, possessing implements of cockfighting, and aggravated cruelty to animals. He is currently being held on no bond and an unrelated out of County detainer at the Harford County Detention Center.
Sheriff Gahler offered his sincere thanks to Agency members and allied agencies who worked tirelessly to bring this case to a conclusion.
“It is hard to believe this type of animal cruelty could be occurring in our community, but it serves to illustrate that no place is immune from this type of activity. While we are troubled by the abuse and mistreatment of these birds for entertainment, we are pleased to know that this operation has been halted and no further abuse will occur at this location.”