Florida man accused of running illegal animal fighting ring

The Lake County Sheriff's Office said it has dismantled a sizable cockfighting ring in which a man is accused of creating a makeshift stadium built on his property for illegal fights.

The investigation began with a 911 hang-up call, prompting deputies to respond to the scene where the call was placed. Upon arrival, they discovered a group of 30 to 50 men who quickly scattered. Deputies said they observed some men loading chickens into cages and trucks as they fled.

Deputies said they found several live animals on the property, including chickens and a goat, alongside a few dead chickens. A subsequent search uncovered 40 live roosters and a scoreboard, which they said provided evidence for an arrest.

Detectives identified 53-year-old Heinrich Muller as the suspected organizer of the cockfighting ring. Muller faces 48 counts of animal cruelty and 74 counts of animal fighting and baiting. 

His bond is set at $2,500 for each of the 122 charges, totaling $305,000.