MILWAUKEE -- Two Milwaukee men were arrested after their alleged involvement in a cockfighting operation at a Mequon property. The accused are Chong Choua Xae, 38, (not pictured) and Muajhmong Yang, 20. Each faces a single felony charge of instigating fights between animals , first offense, as party to a crime.
On Thursday, March 15, officers were dispatched to a home in Mequon for a possible animal cruelty complaint.
It's not the only time police have investigated alleged animal cruelty at this location, but it's the first time they've had enough evidence to bring charges.
"We received information from a realtor that was showing a property, actually to a veterinarian," said Mequon Police Detective Lance Wegner.
From their vantage point, they could see what looked like cockfighting on a nearby farm.
"Thought it was strange what was going on. We had our suspicions. Last time we investigated it we had no evidence," said Wegner.
Thursday, Wegner saw it firsthand -- arriving at the home undercover.
According to the criminal complaint, when he arrived on the scene, Wegner "observed three males with several chickens and roosters in small cages around them." The officer saw one man with an orange jacket "watching the other two men as they each set down two roosters in front of each other. (The officer) observed the roosters to spur at each other, flare their wings and peck at each other." The officer indicated this lasted about five minutes.
Moments later, the complaint indicates, a man with a gray sweatshirt came out with a rooster and another man with a blue sweater brought another rooster. Again, the two birds began to peck at each other. The complaint says the men would "block the roosters from leaving the area and pushed them towards each other."
Wegner said he watched for nearly 25 minutes.
"Approximately five minutes each time, and they did this for about four to five different birds. They were, you could say, practicing with the roosters," said Wegner.
When questioned by authorities, Yang "admitted that they were allowing the roosters to fight, but stated there was no betting on the outcome." Xae told investigators "Yang had challenged his rooster to fight and he agreed."
The men told police they rent chicken coops from the land owner. Wegner said that person isn't believed to have been involved in this crime.
Yang was in court Friday, March 16 for a bail/bond hearing, where probable cause was found for further proceedings. A $2,000 signature bond was set, and Yang was ordered not to possess any animals. A status hearing was scheduled for April 12.
Meantime, Wegner tells us Xae received approval to be released due to a medical condition. He'll be ordered to appear in court for an initial appearance, which is scheduled for April 12.
The Wisconsin Humane Society issued on Monday, March 19 the following statement on animal fighting to FOX6 News:
"The Wisconsin Humane Society is opposed to any sport or event that involves pitting animals or humans against animals resulting in intentional injury or death. Blood sports such as dog fighting, cockfighting, bullfighting and other brutal contests cause injury and suffering to the animals involved. Animal fighting is also closely linked to many other criminal activities. The Wisconsin Humane Society supports anti-fighting laws and strong enforcement of these laws."