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Long IslandCrime

Bay Shore man had illegal drugs, animal fighting gear, police say

Reynaldo Bonilla, 40, was charged with two felony

Reynaldo Bonilla, 40, was charged with two felony counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of marijuana on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Credit: SCPD

A Bay Shore man nabbed on drug and animal fighting charges three years ago was arrested again on similar charges Friday when Suffolk police raided his two properties, authorities said.

Reynaldo Bonilla had 65 fighting roosters, hens, fighting talons and a cockfighting ring at his Fourth Street property in Brentwood, while a “significant” quantity of cocaine, marijuana, cash and drug packaging materials were seized from there and his North Thompson Drive home, officials said.

In May 2015, police went to his Brentwood property, his home at the time, for a drug raid and discovered 45 fighting roosters kept in a shed, officials said. This time, he had roosters and hens in a detached garage and in cages in the backyard, according to the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which was called to the Brentwood scene Friday.

“Apparently, he doesn’t get the message,” said Roy Gross, head of the Suffolk SPCA.

Investigators also took a pheasant, which is illegal to own without a license in the state, and a female pit bull, which had skin and tail injuries and was living among feces, without food and water, Gross said.

Bonilla was scheduled to be arraigned Saturday on two felony counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of marijuana.

The SPCA charged him with various counts of animal cruelty in connection with the dog’s condition and lack of proper shelter and having fighting birds and paraphernalia.

Information on the status of his 2015 case was not available Friday night.

Police said Bonilla was arrested at his Bay Shore home just before 10 a.m. Gross said police had started what they thought was a drug bust but then found the roosters, turning the operation into a job that ended in the early evening.

Third Precinct detectives led the bust and were joined by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Islip Town animal control, Third Precinct gang section, Third Precinct community support unit, emergency services section and K-9, along with the SPCA.

It’s not clear why the pheasant was there, but Gross said in other cockfighting cases suspects have told him they used a peacock, which has loud cries, as a sort of guard and to breed with hens in hopes of producing “superstrong fighters.”

Some cock fighters, especially the winners, cost thousands of dollars, the Suffolk SPCA head said, and their owners use steroids on the fowl and attach razors to their legs to cut their opponents.

When fighting roosters are seized, they are usually euthanized because the drugs in their systems make them unsuitable as food. Also, they cannot be rehabilitated to live with other birds.

Gross called cockfighting a “barbaric blood sport” steeped in crimes beyond animal abuse. “Cockfighting is a very cruel, barbaric practice that leads to other crimes,” he said. “This guy was into drugs. The investigation will help disrupt the illegal bird-fighting.”

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