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Hundreds of Birds Rescued After Fighting Ring Dismantled in Buena

by Hayden Mitman, NBC News

This story is being republished under a special NJ News Commons content-sharing agreement related to COVID-19 coverage. Link to story/video:

The animal activist group Funny Farm Rescue was met with, what members called, “the most horrific and overwhelming experience” they’ve ever had to handle after responding to an animal cruelty case over the past weekend.

Activists said that there were “hundreds” of birds at a property in Buena, New Jersey, where birds had been trained and used for fighting.

In January, law enforcement officials arrested Sigfredo Perez, 81, of Newtonville and Queli Merlo, 49, of Hammonton for their alleged roles in owning and training the birds there for fighting purposes.

At that time, police said, they found dead birds in various states of decay as well as two dogs, five rabbits, and several cats—which were seized by officials.

When activists with Funny Farm Rescue visited this month, they too found dead birds, but were able to save more than 150 of the animals.

The group said, due to the overwhelming amount of animals rescued in the past weekend, it has “never been in more need of help.”

Funny Farm Rescue is seeking donations on its website in order to help afford costs related to the rescue of these birds.