After being tipped off by neighbors, authorities found a dead pigeon, a pile of rotting chicken carcasses, and over 22 farm animals in a New Jersey home on Thursday.
“Four or five dead chickens, with their throats slashed, were left in a pile, and seven to nine goats were found roaming the backyard.
Jersey City residents can not keep livestock, farm animals in city limits,” H. James Boor, the director of New Jersey’s Division of Environmental Health, told NBC New York.
The home tenant, Emilio Otero, told news agencies that he was a Santeria devotee, a religion that sacrifices animals for religious reasons.
Otero vehemently denied that the animals were sacrificed and claimed that he killed the animals for food.
“It’s legal. You respect the religion,” he said.
Despite the Jersey City ordinance, he claims his First Amendment rights protect him.
And despite Jersey City’s ordinance, he said that the practice was protected under his First Amendment rights.
It was unclear Friday if Otero would face any charges, but Jersey City police said they would continue their investigation.