New York City teacher accused of training roosters for cockfighting

Federal prosecutors have accused a New York City teacher of breeding and training roosters for cockfighting in his Bronx backyard.

Prosecutors from the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged Hector Cruz, who was arrested Tuesday, with one count of animal fighting. They said he trained the roosters for cockfighting, or a sport in which roosters fight each other with a knife or other blade attached to their legs. The fight ends when one dies or refuses to fight, the complaint said.

The charges against Mr. Cruz, 59 years old, came out of an investigation by the New York Police Department and U.S. Department of Agriculture into the breeding of roosters for cockfighting, the complaint said.

An attorney representing Mr. Cruz declined to comment. Mr. Cruz, who has worked for the Department of Education since 1996, was most recently an English as a Second Language teacher at P.S. 211 in the Bronx, a department spokesman said. Mr. Cruz, who earned a salary of $94,173, is reassigned outside the school while the matter is resolved, the spokesman added.

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