Deputies investigate after finding 358 live animals, 40 dead in Catawba County home

NEWTON, N.C. — Catawba County deputies executed a search warrant at a home for the second time in two days, this time looking for evidence of cockfighting.

Catawba County Animal Services removed 358 animals from a home on Poultry Drive in Claremont.

In addition to the live animals, officials also found 40 dead animals in cages and pens.

Narcotics officers pulled 2,000 poppy plants from the property on Tuesday and a man was charged with trafficking opium.

During the initial search, officers said they discovered signs of cockfighting, including several injured birds.

"Lacerations and cuts on their backs, types of illnesses and things about their physical appearance that leads them to believe that these animals are being used for illegal activity," Catawba County Emergency Services official Karyn Yaussy said.

Catawba County is working with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture to assure the humane treatment of the animals and that all steps are being taken to protect the public’s health.

This is an ongoing investigation. Check back with for updates.

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