Court Won't Rehear Euless Animal Sacrifice Case

Wednesday, Sep 9, 2009  |  Updated 5:12 PM CDT
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Court Won't Rehear Euless Animal Sacrifice Case

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"Spare me" - goat.

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An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated in a headline that Jose Merced would not be able to sacrifice goats. NBCDFW.com apologizes for the error.

A federal appeals court has denied the city of Euless' plea for a rehearing on a Santeria priest who sacrifices animals during religious ceremonies inside his home.

Jose Merced sued the city of Euless, saying its decision to ban his slaughter of goats violated his First Amendment religious freedoms.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans had overturned a lower-court ruling dismissing Merced's claim. On Friday, it refused to hear the city's plea for a hearing before the full court.

The city contends animal sacrifices jeopardize public health and violate its slaughterhouse and animal cruelty ordinances.

Believers say animal sacrifices are an essential devotion in Santeria, which fuses elements of Roman Catholicism with the beliefs Yoruba slaves brought from Africa.

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