Investigators made a disturbing discovery on Thursday, finding nearly two dozen farm animals in a Jersey City apartment – and the US Navy sailor who owns the unit believes the tenant may have carried out tampering with them. animal sacrifices.
It was a wild scene when an animal services officer was seen carrying a goat down Van Horne Street, one of the “seven to nine” goats that were reportedly found inside the house. in row of three bedrooms. But that’s not all that was found.
“About four or five dead chicken carcasses, their throats slit and they were left in a pile,” said H. James Boor, of the Jersey City Environmental Health Division.
At least 22 farm animals were later found in the house after neighbors notified the department. Images from the scene show goats grazing in the backyard, near chicken carcasses; another photo shows a dead pigeon nailed above a door.
The man who owns the animals, Emilio Otero, has denied sacrificing any of the animals. Otero initially wanted to remain anonymous, but then allowed his identity to be shared.
“I help people with cancer, women who aren’t pregnant, people with psoriasis,” Otero said, adding he was a type of doctor.
He said he didn’t sacrifice animals as part of his Santeria practice, but instead used them for food.
“It’s legal, legally (in) the United States… you respect religion,” Otero said.
But the Jersey City Environmental Health Division disagreed, saying it was completely illegal.
“Jersey City has an ordinance that prohibits residents from keeping farm animals, livestock, within city limits,” Boor said. “As the investigation continues, (Otero) could face per count – I don’t know how many counts – but per count issued by my inspectors it could cost $ 2,000 and 90 days in jail. “
Caught in the middle of it all is the owner of the house, Alyza Brevard-Rodriguez, the Navy sailor who has just returned from a tour of the Middle East, and has called the situation a “nightmare”. She says Otero hasn’t paid rent since May and that the moratorium on evictions prevents her from driving him out despite the damage she believes he’s doing to his property.
“I come from humble beginnings. I served this country, I bought this house, I live in the same block and I wanted to get an investment property, and that’s what it has become, ”said Brevard-Rodriguez.
She believes all kinds of animals – goats, pigeons, chickens and maybe more – are being sacrificed on her property.
Otero has not been arrested and is not yet charged. Jersey City Police are investigating.