Sheriffs are fighting their way through the seedy underbelly of Danville, Iowa, taking aim at unregulated gambling in its most adorable form – mouse racing.

Officers raided the Bucktail Lodge last week in search of code violations and shut down the popular races.

The owners said the censure is as silly as their pastime.

"We don't consider it gambling at all, it's just people having fun. The money goes back to them. If you win, you win; if you lose, you lose," said Scott Beach, owner of the Bucktail Lodge.

The sleepy country bar was also cited for several health violations from the on-site rodents, old food and trash in the building's basement. The owners said those citations were absurd too.

"Nobody gets beyond the pool table over there, even if they're drinking a beer, so if a mouse can jump out of there (race track) go run and drop a turd in his beer he's doing something," said Beach.

When the mice aren't competing, they are adored as pets in the family's apartment above the bar.

"It's not like they are getting ate, 'If you're a loser you die.' It's not like that," said Beach.

For now, the races are on hold, but the mice racers said they will be in court to fight for the right to their rodent-race night. They said the incident makes it clear that the local police have little to do.

"There's no meth heads or makers around here, you just gotta mess with the mouse racers," said Beach.