Today (January 15) at 1:45 a.m., Massachusetts State Trooper Sergio Figueiredo stopped a gray 2003 Honda Accord on Route 84 in Sturbridge after it failed to move over for an ambulance with lights and sirens on. There were four men inside the Honda and Trooper Figueiredo witnessed them shoving something under the seats inside the vehicle. He also saw a large sticker on the rear of the vehicle that read ‘TRABA 24K’ with a silhouette of a rooster pictured on it.
Trooper Figuerido observed that a bag under one of the car seat’s was moving, and he heard noises coming from inside it. He radioed for backup.
The four occupants of the vehicle were removed and Trooper Figueiredo, who has hens of his own at home, recognized what sounded like hen or rooster noises coming from inside one of the bags.
The sounds were, in fact, those of a rooster, and inside two laundry bags and a plastic garbage bag, -a total of three roosters were located. The animals were in poor condition and Trooper Figueiredo feared at first that two of them were dead. The roosters had no feathers left on them below the neck and chest area and were covered with gouges on their breasts, legs and heads. Also inside the vehicle were a bag containing several rolls of medical tape, nail files, a block of wax, long sharp acrylic talons, and a container of styptic powder which is used to stop bleeding.
The four men were placed under arrest for animal cruelty and other charges and the Sturbridge Animal Control Officer was contacted to assist with the roosters. The birds were taken to Tufts Veterinary Hospital in Grafton where they are being provided with medical care. All four were transported to the State Police Barracks in Sturbridge where they were booked and later released on $500 bail each.
The four men have been identified as 26-year-old WINTON HERNANDEZ, 54-year-old CESAREO RUIZ, 22-year-old WILLIAM MORALES and 23-year-old ERICK LORA-LOPEZ, all from Lawrence. All four face charges including:
1. Animal Cruelty
2. Animal Fight, Keeping or Promoting
The driver of the vehicle, WINTON HERNANDEZ, was also charged with obstructing an emergency vehicle.
Anyone who witnesses or suspects animal cruelty is urged to call the Animal Rescue League at 617-226-5610.