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At least 22 farm animals, including goats, chicken carcasses and a dead pigeon, found in N.J. home

Photos appeared to show the goats strolling in the backyard close to the chicken carcasses. Another image showed the dead pigeon nailed above a door.

At least 22 farm animals, including goats, chicken carcasses and a dead pigeon, were found in a New Jersey home Thursday after authorities were tipped off by neighbors.

H. James Boor, the director of the Division of Environmental Health for Jersey City, told NBC New York about "seven to nine" goats were found inside a three-bedroom row home in the city.

"About four or five dead chicken carcasses, their throats slashed and they were left in a pile," Boor said. "Jersey City has an ordinance that prohibits residents from keeping farm animals, livestock, in the city limits."

Photos appeared to show goats strolling in the backyard close to chicken carcasses. Another photo appeared to show a dead pigeon nailed above a door.

Emilio Otero, who did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment Friday, is the tenant who owns the animals found at the property, NBC New York reported. He told the the news station he was a follower of Santeria, a religion that practices animal sacrifice, but denied killing the animals for religious purposes.

Instead, Otero said he killed the animals for sustenance. And despite Jersey City's ordinance, he said that the practice was protected under his First Amendment rights.

"It's legal ... (in) the United States. You respect the religion," he said.

Alyza Brevard-Rodriguez, the landlord of the property and a Navy sailor who recently returned home from a tour in the Middle East, called the situation "a nightmare," NBC New York reported.

She claimed Otero hasn't paid rent since May and the federal eviction moratorium has prevented her from kicking him off her property.

"I come from humble beginnings. I served this country, I purchased this house, I live on the same block and I wanted to get an investment property — and this is what this has turned into," Brevard-Rodriguez said.

It was unclear Friday if Otero would face any charges, but Jersey City police said they would continue their investigation.