Lino Lakes police officers raided an alleged cockfighting operation this week, arresting nine people and confiscating 41 injured birds.
Investigators said the several-acre Lino Lakes property contained hundreds of pens holding up to 1,000 chickens.
"It's certainly one of the largest and more sophisticated facilities [that I've seen]," said Keith Streff, a senior investigator with the Animal Humane Society.
Police arrived at the heavily wooded area in the 1400 block of Woodland Drive on Sunday, in response to an anonymous complaint of an illegal cockfight. Between 20 and 30 people ran into the woods as officers arrived, leaving behind an injured rooster and other evidence of cockfighting, officers said.
Officers arrested nine people, including a man who identified himself as the owner of the property. Police said the owner will likely receive felony charges for permitting an animal fight. The other eight men are expected to receive lesser charges for attending the fight.
Streff said the property's owner denied using the animals for illegal fighting and said he was raising them as pets and for food.
Several men admitted to being at the property to watch the fight, police said, and one man told officers he had placed a $20 bet.
When officers returned to the property on Tuesday to execute a search warrant, they found between 500 and 1000 live chickens, along with seven dead birds, and 40 roosters that showed evidence of recent fighting.
Officials said they also confiscated several blood-stained fighting rings, along with animal antibiotics and syringes.
The Animal Humane Society is caring for the injured birds at its Golden Valley facility. Many of the roosters have leg injuries and damaged feathers.
Streff said it appears that the property was mostly used to breed animals to be sold for cockfighting. The alleged fight on Sunday might have been the result of carelessness on the part of the property's owner, Streff said.
"He might have said, 'Let's whoop it up and have a little fight here,'" he said.
Officials said the investigation is pending, but they do not expect any additional arrests.