VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – On Tuesday, in Virginia Beach Circuit Court, Emmanuel Garcia, 55, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with all but six months suspended. The very light sentence came after he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of possessing animals for fighting and one count of conspiracy.
The judge also banned Garcia from owning any animals for the rest of his life.
In 2018, Virginia Beach Animal Control officers were called to the 4-acre property where Garcia lives and discovered more than 200 roosters, along with several items commonly associated with cockfighting, including razor blades that are attached to the animals' feet to inflict wounds during a fight.
The Inquirer reported:
Garcia’s defense attorney argued that Garcia was used to cockfighting being legal in his home country of the Philippines. His roosters were shipped for $250 to California and then to the Philippines for the deadly fights, according to authorities. He was paid $450 for each rooster, officials said.
“It’s a legal, legitimate sport that he grew up with and I think that tainted his judgment,” attorney Richard Doumar said.
All of the roosters were euthanized after being assessed as too aggressive to be adopted, according to court documents.