A 77-year-old Brooklyn man barred by a New York court from owning animals for three years due to previous animal cruelty convictions is back in court, on charges he violated that order by owning nearly 100 roosters, hens and other animals, as well as training and shipping those roosters for fighting matches elsewhere.
Jeremias Nieves, 77, of 71 Central Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn, was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court Wednesday night on charges of fifth-degree conspiracy, second-degree criminal contempt and “multiple violations” of a number of different animal cruelty charges, according to a statement from the Queens District Attorney’s office
Police said they visited Nieves home last December after multiple calls to the city’s 311 system about the suspected presence of roosters and chickens in the property.
Nieves consented to a search of his home, police said, adding that animal control officers found 32 roosters from the basement and the roof.
Officers also allegedly recovered animal fighting equipment, including gaffs (spurs) and sparring gloves, as well as a poultry shipping box addressed to Nieves. 18 of the birds were later found to have been physically altered or subject to cruel augmentations in order to prevent injuries or improve their fighting skills in the ring, investigators said.
Nieves is also accused of attempting to ship two poultry boxes of roosters at a Brooklyn post office two months later, the district attorney’s office said.
Nieves was charged in February 2014 with conspiring and acting in concert with others to engage in cockfighting activities, the office’s statement added. That April, he pleaded guilty to felony animal fighting and was sentenced to a three-year conditional discharge, including a three-year ban on owning animals.
“What some people may erroneously refer to as a blood sport is in actuality animal cruelty in its most brutalizing form,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown wrote in a statement. “In this case, the defendant is accused of showing his contempt for the justice system by willfully violating a lawful court order banning him from possessing any animals and selling birds to fight.”
Nieves was released on his own recognizance and was scheduled to return to court on July 11.