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About 150 birds seized in fighting investigation

  • Story Highlights
  • 19 people arrested, $8,000 in cash seized at a Connecticut home
  • All arrested, originally from Brazil, being charged with animal cruelty, illegal gambling
  • Police call such fighting unusual, say it's easier to conceal than rooster fighting
  • Police say that raid came after tips and that some of the birds have eye injuries
By Deborah Brunswick
CNN
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(CNN) -- Police seized approximately 150 birds and arrested 19 people in a Connecticut home Sunday in an investigation of alleged finch and canary fighting, the Shelton Police Department said.

Police seized cash, canaries, finches and bird cages from a home in Shelton, Connecticut.

Police seized cash, canaries, finches and bird cages from a home in Shelton, Connecticut.

In addition to the 150 birds -- mainly saffron finches -- police seized their cages and $8,000 in cash from a home in Shelton, said police Sgt. Robert Kozlowsky.

The 19 people, all originally from Brazil, are being charged with animal cruelty and illegal gambling, Kozlowsky said. The homeowner, Jurames Goulart, 42, was additionally charged with interfering with officers.

Shelton Police say they've never seen or heard of this kind of bird fighting before.

"This is new to us," Kozlowsky told CNN. "Finches are much easier to keep under the radar than roosters because they make less noise and they wouldn't arouse suspicions if someone had a lot of them." Video Watch police haul away the birds »

Kozlowsky said police obtained a search warrant after a monthlong investigation and raided the home after receiving tips that an illegal fight was scheduled to take place.

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Wayne Kasacek of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, which helped remove the birds, said that at least four of the finches have eye injuries.

Saffron finches are canary-size birds native to South America.

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