Kensington Man Faces Charges for Cockfighting: Claims Birds Are ‘Pets'

The PSPCA has put the new 2015 paraphernalia bill to action in a case of suspected cockfighting yesterday in Philadelphia.

The bill makes it illegal to possess any device, drug or object intended to be used for training animals to fight, actual animal fighting, or any other illegal activities.

Juan Reyes of Kensington has been charged with 14 felony counts of animal fighting, along with 6 misdemeanor counts for the possession of 36 birds and fighting paraphernalia. PSPCA officials were in the neighborhood investigating an unrelated crime when birds dressed for fighting were spotted in his yard.

Reyes is from the Dominican Republic where people keep the birds for pets. His defense attorney Michael Stosic tells that the 31-year-old planned to sell the birds as pets.

But on March 1st officials with the Pennsylvania Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals say they found animals "dressed for fighting" when they raided Reyes' home.

The bird's bottom feathers had been shave and their combs had been removed. Gillian Kocher, a spokeswoman for the group, says birds are commonly groomed that way for cockfighting.

“Animal fighting is a brutal crime, and we hope through the prosecution of cases like this, we can deter future offenders from participating. We are grateful for the new paraphernalia legislation, which is important in identifying those who are performing acts of animal cruelty, or intend to," said PSPCA CEO, Jerry Buckley.

Anyone with information about this case, or other cases involving animal cruelty, should call the Pennsylvania SPCA’s Cruelty Hotline at (866) 601-SPCA. Tips can be left anonymously.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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