Couple convicted of animal cruelty for mistreating sacrificial lamb as part of religious observance

Springs couple belongs to Hebrew-Israelites sect

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - An El Paso County jury has convicted a former Colorado Springs couple of animal cruelty over treatment of a lamb they planned to sacrifice as part of a religious observance.

Periz Jackson and Elijah Black face up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine after jurors on Tuesday found them guilty of leaving the animal in a locked closet where it was left on urine- and feces-soaked hay with no water and tethered by a heavy chain around its neck.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, Jackson, 30, and Black, 42,  belong to a largely African-American religious sect called the Hebrew-Israelites. The couple claimed they were being persecuted for their religious beliefs.

Authorities say the pair purchased the sacrificial lamb for $250 from a livestock grower east of Denver in early April. They planned to slaughter and roast the male yearling on Passover in their Colorado Springs apartment.

The ceremony was averted two days early, however, when neighbors noticed a foul odor emanating from their apartment.

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