News that Surrey, B.C., was home to cockfighting shocked the city's mayor, Dianne Watts.


Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said Thursday she was shocked to learn that cockfighting was going on in her city. ((CBC))

On Thursday, the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced it had broken up one of the largest cockfighting rings in the country.

"I know that it's happened in other parts of the world where this sort of activity takes place, but this is certainly the first for me," Watts said.

The BC SPCA said the ring operated on three properties in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey, all of which were raided on Wednesday and Thursday.

Watts said the three sites are in the South Cloverdale area, adding that the largest contained between 600 and 900 birds.

The BC SPCA said it received help with the raids from the RCMP and Surrey bylaw officers after search warrants were issued.

Fourteen SPCA constables, 11 RCMP officers and three Surrey bylaw officers were involved in the busts.

While the BC SPCA said it was one of the largest cockfighting investigations in Canada, the agency refused to release more details until a press conference is held Friday.

Meanwhile, Watts said there are a number of things about cockfighting that bother her.

"I think its the treatment of the birds, the so called sport and the gambling that is associated with it. Because it certainly isn't a sport, it is animal cruelty."

Watts said the ring leaders may face gambling and animal cruelty charges.

With files from The Canadian Press