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Cass County Courthouse photo

PLATTSMOUTH – An official with the Nebraska Humane Society upon arriving at a suspected cockfighting event near Louisville on Saturday described the scene as “surreal” and “gruesome.”

“It was gruesome with the dead birds,” said Mark Langan, vice president of field operations for the society. “It was a surreal scene with snow falling in the darkness and the use of floodlights and continually finding more birds.”

The Omaha-branch of the humane society came to the location where the alleged incident occurred at the request of Cass County agencies, according to Langan, who spoke to the county’s Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

“We helped process evidence within the barn,” he told the board.

Besides dead and living birds being found, humane society workers also discovered medications known to be used in cockfighting, plus boxes containing hooked razors placed on birds for fighting, Langan told the board.

Portable lights were used when darkness arrived and birds were being found in different places on the property, he said.

“It went on and on,” Langan said.

Altogether, 186 live birds were confiscated from the scene, he told the board. The humane society is charging the county $186 per day for housing and feeding the birds as they being held for evidence in the case, he told the board.

The birds are being housed in an undisclosed location, he added.

“This is by far the biggest cockfighting case we’ve dealt with,” Langan said afterwards. “This was one of the strangest due to the enormity of the situation.”

Besides the live birds confiscated, 11 dead ones were found, plus one that had to be euthanized on the scene, he added.

Also found were wooden boxes containing spurs with razor sharp hooks, Langan said.

“Some were hand-crafted wooden boxes and the spurs were laid out on a line like jewelry would be,” Langan said.

It’s currently taking eight humane society workers to feed the confiscated birds and clean their pens and these are birds not easy to deal with, he said.

“They are very difficult for our employees to handle,” Langan said.

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