Finch Fighting Raid! Does It Get More Perverse Than This?

Police arrested 19 people for organized finch-fighting. The arrestees had come to New Haven, Connecticut, from as far away as Massachusetts and New Jersey. Officers seized 150 birds, most of which were small, saffron finches. A few were canaries.

The 19 people, all originally from Brazil, were charged with cruelty to animals and gambling. Police also charged the apparent ringleader, 42-year-old Jurames Goulart, with interfering with officers. Goulart denied the charges, saying he had the birds for singing. “I take care of the birds,” he told The Associated Press. “They’re like my son.”

His wife tells a different story. She said that the birds would fight for some 15 minutes, pecking each other in the legs, head and eyes. “I got very upset when I see they started bleeding,” she said. “I think he has to pay for his action.” (Read the story.)