MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Three brothers are being charged after authorities shut down a bird fighting ring, operating on several farms in western Wisconsin.

Investigators charged Ernesto, Augustine and Idelio Benitez Tuesday. Nearly 1,200 birds were found living in cages and make-shift enclosures on four properties in Polk and St. Croix counties.

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Investigators say they seized a fighting pit and knives that are attached to roosters during fights.

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The search warrant came after a tip kicked off months of investigation.

Authorities teamed up with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The ASPCA says some of the birds did not have proper access to food or water. They are now being cared for by several animal rescue groups.

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The brothers are due in court in July.