The Atlantic County, New Jersey Prosecutor’s arrested two men in January, 2023.

But, they didn’t stop there. On Saturday, March 4, 2023, they directly helped (with many of their friends) to “re-home” more than 200 birds from the Buena, New Jersey property where illegal cockfighting was taking place.

Sigfredo Perez, 81, of Newtonville, NJ, and Queli Merlo, 49, of Hammonton, NJ, were both arrested on Thursday, Jabuary 26, 2023.

The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office has charged them with: 3rd degree “Owning/Training Live Animals for the Purpose of Fighting offenses.”

The criminal charges are as a result of an investigation led by the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office.

They received an anonymous tip led that led Humane Law Enforcement Unit of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, along with the New Jersey State Police to a home in Buena, New Jersey.

This location was alleged to have been housing birds used for fighting. They searched the property and discovered dozens of roosters trained to fight, along with the equipment to train the roosters to fight.

In addition to the hundreds of birds, law enforcement also discovered two dogs, five rabbits, and several cats that were found to be kept in an unsanitary environment and in need of proper medical attention.

The following law enforcement and public entities are directly involved in this matter:

  • Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office (lead agency).
  • New Jersey State Police.
  • New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
  • Buena Borough Animal Control.
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The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office has shared this follow-up public message:

“The Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office would like to thank the Funny Farm Rescue of Mays Landing and the South Jersey Wildlife Rehabilitation and Sanctuary Rescue for their assistance. Both rescues provided not only new homes for the birds but also volunteers to assist in the rehoming process today.”

”The Prosecutor's Office would also like to thank Wildlife Aid of Egg Harbor Township for rehoming the rabbits that were seized from the property in January when charges were originally filed.”

SOURCE: Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.

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