EAST PALO ALTO (CBS SF) – An East Palo Alto man who pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony animal cruelty in a cockfighting case was sentenced to three years of probation and 120 days in jail, according to San Mateo County prosecutors.
Police arrested 29-year-old Aldenni de Jesus Trujillo Santiago in the 1200 block of Cypress Street on March 23 while responding to a call from a concerned neighbor who reported that men had carried roosters into a yard, then later heard cheering.
A total of 56 gamecocks, hens and chicks were found, including 11 with their wattles removed for fighting and one that was dead and decomposing. Santiago initially admitted to owning the birds, but denied any involvement in cockfighting, according to the district attorney’s office.
Investigators, however, found cockfighting videos on his phone dating back to January, as well as a variety of cockfighting paraphernalia including injectable antibiotics and “sparring muffs,” prosecutors said.
Santiago initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea Wednesday.
In addition to his sentence, Santiago has been prohibited from owning, possessing or residing with any game birds, but the court allowed him to continue living with his mother-in-law, who keeps hens for eggs, prosecutors said.
The terms of his probation also prohibit working at any business that involves animals, participating in illegal animal activity or frequenting any website related to illegal animal activity.
If Santiago adheres to the terms of his probation, the court may reduce the crime to a misdemeanor at a later date.
His defense attorney Martin Caraves was not immediately available for comment on the case.
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