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Citrus County man accused of illegal animal breeding, animal cruelty

Animals Control seized 59 roosters and hens along with two dogs found with inadequate food, water and shelter, the sheriff's office says.

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. — A man was arrested for illegal animal breeding and animal cruelty earlier this week out of Dunnellon, the Citrus County Sheriff's Office reports.

On Wednesday, detectives with the Community Crime Unit responded to an area with Animal Control on suspicion of breeding roosters for fighting. Once on scene, investigators say they found multiple small structures on the property with roosters tethered underneath the structures.

Detectives talked to 65-year-old Robert Miranda who reportedly lived on the property in a camper near the structures. During an interview, Miranda told authorities he lived there and worked for a friend who raises roosters to ship to the Philippines for fighting, the sheriff's office explains.

The man lived on the Dunnellon property for around eight months and also started raining his own roosters to send for fighting, according to the agency. 

Miranda allegedly eventually confessed that he owned nine roosters for fighting.

Animals Control seized 59 roosters and hens along with two dogs found with inadequate food, water and shelter, the sheriff's office says.

"We will not tolerate this type of activity in Citrus County," Sheriff Mike Prendergast said in a statement. "Know that if you participate in any way in the cruel and inhumane treatment of animals, we will arrest you and make sure you are held accountable for your actions.

"We encourage citizens to call 352-249-2790 to report suspected animal cruelty to help us help defenseless animals that can't speak for themselves."

Miranda is being charged with nine counts of animal breeding for the purpose of fighting and two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. He's being held on a bond of $47,000.

The sheriff's office will continue to investigate to determine if anyone else is connected to the breeding operation or if there's any connection to the previous case of cock fighting in Floral City.

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