PERRIS, Calif. -

A man has been cited for animal cruelty after an alleged cockfighting ring was discovered in an unincorporated area of Perris on Sunday morning, according to John Welsh with the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.

A deputy with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department found the operation in the 21700 block of Club Drive, just west of Highway 74 and northeast of the city of Lake Elsinore.

He said everyone but the property owner ran from the scene when he pulled up at about 8:30 a.m.

According to Welsh, when animal control officers arrived, the property owner told them he was putting on a show where "they put little plastic things on the bird's legs and watch them box."

An officer cited the man for misdemeanor animal cruelty after informing him it's illegal to possess any gamecock for fighting.

The man surrendered 48 cockfighting roosters to Riverside County for humane euthanasia.

Welsh said the property had a bird-fighting ring constructed of aluminum side paneling, a scale to weigh the birds and numerous birds inside bird boxes that were locked in vehicles.