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ohio cockfighting

Ohio House Bill 198 Reduces Humane Societies’ Power to Protect Animals

ANIMAL LEGISLATION UPDATE:
HB 198, which abolishes Ohio Humane Societies’ ability to appoint prosecutors to prosecute crimes against animals, was introduced in the Ohio House on 5/11/15. This is the first legislative effort to REDUCE a Humane Society’s ability to protect animals.

Primary Sponsors: Reps. Steve Hambley (R-69) and Greta Johnson (D-35)

Summary: To repeal section 2931.18 of the Revised Code to abolish the humane society’s authority to employ an attorney to prosecute certain violations of law dealing with animal cruelty.

Find your Legislator here: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislators/find-my-legislators

HB 198 Hurts Animals

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Conviction for possession of cockfighting birds

State v. Filimon Medina, a case we prosecuted for the Medina County SPCA. This is one of the roosters removed from Mr. Medina’s property. It is common practice among cockfighters to remove the combs and wattles of fighting birds so the animals will not bleed excessively in battle, thus weakening them and possibly interfering with their ability to see.While Mr. Medina was not caught in the act of cockfighting, he was charged and convicted in the Medina Municipal Court of two counts of possession of criminal tools for possessing altered roosters, sparring muffs, various drugs and veterinary supplies commonly used in cockfighting, keep pens, tie out ropes and shipping boxes.

Ironically, possession of criminal tools is a 1st degree misdemeanor, while cockfighting is only a misdemeanor of the 4th degree in Ohio. Mr. Medina forfeited all seized birds, will pay a $400 fine plus costs, and may serve 90 days in jail if he violates the terms of his probation, which includes a prohibition against possessing altered birds and random inspections.

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Man convicted of possession of cockfighting birds, tools

State v. Filimon Medina, a case we prosecuted for the Medina County SPCA.

Defendant was found guilty of two first degree misdemeanor charges for possession of criminal tools. The “criminal tools” were 29 roosters with their combs and waddles surgically removed, medications, vitamins, rooster boxing muffs and other items linking Mr. Medina to cockfighting. 

Defendant faces up to 180 days in jail for each count. Sentencing will be set before Judge Dale Chase for another date.

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Cleveland cockfighter Carlos Diaz to serve six months in jail

State v. Carlos Diaz, a case we prosecuted for the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

Diaz kept 15 roosters and hens in a filthy, sewage-filled basement. A number of the birds had untreated injuries, were underweight, or were otherwise ill. Food for the birds was scattered amongst the sewage, and no clean water was available.

Diaz admitted that he was training the roosters to fight. He further admitted that he sold and shipped the birds to Puerto Rico where they would be fought.

When the APL’s humane agents responded to Diaz’s residence, they found a fighting pen, where feathers were on the floor of the pen and blood was splattered on the walls. In addition, they found other items consistent with cockfighting: a timer, 3 pairs of rubber sparring pads, medications, performance-enhancing vitamins, salves, and syringes. Five pairs of spurs, razor-sharp knife-like devices strapped to roosters’ legs for causing damage to their opponent, were found wrapped in bloody adhesive tape (pictured here).

Cockfighting is a cruel, abusive, and barbaric practice that tortures animals, endangers the health and safety of the public, and is known to facilitate other crimes, such as illegal gambling, drug abuse and sales, and firearms offenses.

In 2008, Diaz was found guilty of illegal fights between animals under ORC 959.15, a fourth degree misdemeanor. His punishment was a $250.00 fine and court costs.

Diaz plead to and was found guilty of 11 counts related to cockfighting, animal cruelty/neglect, and possessing criminal tools.

Under a separate case number, Diaz plead no contest to an additional violation of the city’s urban farming law in relation to this case.

Judge Adrine sentenced Diaz to serve 6 months in jail, with an additional 1200 days suspended. Diaz must pay costs and complete 5 years of active probation, during which time he cannot possess any animals and must allow random inspections by the APL.

The birds were all rehabilitated.

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Owner of suspected cockfighting location convicted of bird neglect

State v. Jose DeJesus, a case we prosecuted for the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

DeJesus was found guilty of three counts of animal neglect related to the care of birds kept on his property.

DeJesus had 80-100 birds on his property, mostly chickens. Most of the birds were being kept in filthy conditions, and without adequate food or water. The birds had nothing to eat except corn and moldy, stale bread. One rooster was euthanized due to severe untreated injuries.

In a shed located at the rear of the property, investigators found cockfighting paraphernalia, including a ring with timer and sparring muffs.

According to DeJesus, a number of unknown people kept birds on his property and cared for them. DeJesus claimed that he never went in the shed.

DeJesus was sentenced to 90 days in jail for each count, all suspended. He was ordered to pay $500 in restitution to the APL, a $500 fine, and court costs. DeJesus will be on probation for 5 years, during which time he is to have no animals, and must submit to random inspections.

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