Two Army soldiers and 29 other men, aged between 21 and 70, were arrested in the act of mistreatment and criminal association during a police operation that resulted in the closing of a cockfight in Juiz de Fora, in Zona da Mata in Minas Gerais, on Saturday afternoon (20/11). According to the Environmental Military Police, all those investigated will be fined, totaling R$94,656 in fines.
The police investigations took place in a residential area, after a denunciation made by councilwoman Ktia Franco (PSC). Dedicated to animal causes, the parliamentarian and her team caught the crime of mistreatment of 35 birds in Bairro Linhares, on the east side of the city, and called the police. Six of the authors were found hiding in two apparently abandoned rooms in the residence.
During the searches, 30 roosters of the Indian breed, five hens, stimulants and anesthetics were located, which were applied to the animals, iron spurs and a scale used to weigh the birds. The police also seized R$10,974 – an amount that would supposedly be used by the authors in bets.
According to the Military Police, the animals were stowed in an inappropriate place and did not have food and water at their disposal. A veterinarian, who accompanied the occurrence, issued a report in which she attests to the practice of maltreatment. In this sense, the 35 birds have lesions characteristic of criminal practice and many of them had bleeding.
In a PM report, the owner of the residence admitted that one of the animals died that Saturday, but was removed from the place before the arrival of the military. The man also said that he did not charge admission for combats held on the terrace of his house.
Signature of science term and authors released
Those involved were released after signing a science term. Therefore, within 120 days, all of them must contact the 8th Public Prosecutor’s Office of Juiz de Fora to schedule a meeting to propose a non-prosecution agreement – which implies the replacement of the criminal process for damages. This procedure obliges the investigated to confess the crime, but removes a criminal penalty.
Animal rehabilitation process
According to the Military Police, the animals will be sent to a resocialization project for fighting cocks that exists in the municipality of Formiga, in the Center-West region of the state.
The work is a partnership between the Public Ministry of Minas Gerais (MPMG) – through the 4th Prosecutor’s Office of Formiga – with the Formiga University Center (Unifor) and the Regional Environmental Protection Association (Arpa II) of Divinpolis.
What does the law say?
The practice of crimes against wildlife is typified by Law 9,605/1998 – which provides for criminal and administrative sanctions for conduct that causes damage to the environment.
Article 32 says that whoever “commits an act of abuse, ill-treatment, injuring or mutilating wild, domestic or domesticated animals, native or exotic” will be subject to a penalty ranging from three months to one year in prison.
In such cases, the legislation also provides for the imposition of a fine. The penalty increased from one-sixth to one-third, in the event of the animal’s death.
Authors may also be liable for criminal association provided for in Decree-Law 2848/40 in Article 288.