Approximately 40 roosters were ordered to be destroyed after two men pleaded guilty to charges arising from reported incidents of cockfighting.

Yunio Abril Blanco, 33, pleaded guilty Wednesday to keeping animals for cockfighting on June 6 last year. He also admitted having a medical product without a prescription at a North Sound Road address on the same date.

He appeared in the dock with Luis Francisco Grateraux, 50, who was due to be sentenced for cruelty to animals. However, defense attorney John Furniss asked for all sentencing proceedings to be adjourned because Mr. Grateraux also faced charges of importing restricted pharmaceuticals – medicines that require a prescription.

Mr. Furniss said the defendant always admitted possessing the medicines, but said he purchased them on island. Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn said a file note indicated that the Crown was to provide amended charges. This was done and Mr. Grateraux pleaded guilty to possession.

This defendant first appeared in court in August last year on charges that he encouraged, aided or assisted in the fighting or baiting of cocks following alleged incidents in East End and North Side in March 2018.

After his arrest, the animals were seized and kept by the Department of Agriculture. Crown counsel Garcia Kelly asked for a destruction order.

He advised that keeping them was costing the department “a considerable sum.”

He further advised that an alternative was not feasible. “These animals have been bred in such a way that they are naturally ferocious, so that they cannot be re-introduced into a normal population of other animals,” he said.

Mr. Furniss said both men were willing to sign over ownership of the animals to the department. On that basis, the magistrate ordered their destruction.

Mr. Furniss asked the Crown to review other charges against Mr. Blanco, including cockfighting, cruelty to animals and causing unnecessary suffering. He said these charges related to the preparation of animals for cockfighting. “What they were doing may have been lawful and normal in their own country, but it is illegal here,” Mr. Furniss commented.

The files did not indicate the defendants’ country of origin. A pre-sentence social inquiry report had not been completed for Mr. Grateraux and Mr. Furniss also requested one for Mr. Blanco, so the magistrate set sentencing for March 20.

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