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Man charged after 35 animals seized in Ludlow

Officials allege mistreatment

Ashley Harkins, shelter supervisor at the Animal Rescue League’s Dedham facility, with donkeys seized from a Ludlow farm. Many of the animals also had dental problems.

Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Ashley Harkins, shelter supervisor at the Animal Rescue League’s Dedham facility, with donkeys seized from a Ludlow farm. Many of the animals also had dental problems.

Officials from the Animal Rescue League of Boston and MSPCA-Angell joined forces on Friday to seize 35 farm animals from a property in Ludlow, officials said.

Dean Manuel, 43, was arrested after he was found with many allegedly underfed and mistreated animals, including donkeys, ponies, pigs, goats, alpacas, ducks, sheep, a goose, an emu, and a rabbit, according to MSPCA-Angell spokesman Rob Halpin.

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“These animals were in bad shape,” Halpin said in a phone interview Tuesday. “They were emaciated, cold, and scared.”

Manuel faces 46 counts of animal cruelty, two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, and one count of resisting arrest. He is to be arraigned Wednesday in Palmer District Court.

Twelve of the animals, including donkeys, ponies, goats, and sheep, were taken to the Animal Rescue League’s facility in Dedham. The remaining animals, with the exception of one alpaca, were moved to the MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen, according to Halpin.

The alpaca was too weak to stand when authorities arrived, so it was sent to the Tufts veterinary center in Grafton for medical treatment, said Halpin.

“He was a very sad case,” Halpin said.

Many of the animals had overgrown hooves and dental problems. They are being treated and placed on monitored re-feeding programs. All are expected to survive, he said.

Manuel has a history with MSPCA-Angell. After receiving numerous calls about mistreated animals in December, officials visited his Ludlow home to investigate, said Halpin.

When officers arrived, they allegedly found underfed, dehydrated, snow-covered animals. He was given eight days to improve his facilities, said Halpin.

But when the animal protection agency returned Dec. 17, they allegedly found no improvements and Manuel was charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty, said Halpin. On Friday, they made their third visit to the Ludlow farm and seized the 35 animals, Halpin said.

“Our primary concern now is the health and well-being of these animals — and we’ll do everything we can to help them regain their health,” said Christine Allenberg, an MSPCA police officer, in a statement released Tuesday. “And, simultaneously, we will vigorously pursue justice as we do with every cruelty investigation we take on.”

Jacqueline Tempera can be reached at jacqueline.tempera@globe.com Follow her on twitter @jacktemp.
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