A Rhode Island man was arrested on charges of animal cruelty Thursday evening after keeping more than 100 animals on his property, including dogs living in “deplorable and inadequate” conditions days before Christmas, officials said.
Carlos Alves, 59, of Exeter, was charged with mistreating animals and unnecessary cruelty to animals for keeping 24 dogs, including several newborn puppies, outside in freezing temperatures on his property at 425 Gardner Road, Rhode Island State Police said in a statement.
State troopers, Exeter animal control officers, and representatives from the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals first responded to the property on Dec. 22 after neighbors expressed concern, said Corporal Lawens Fevrier.
The dogs — 14 beagles, six Brittany spaniels, and four chihuahuas — were secured outside without access to adequate shelter and were malnourished when officials discovered them in 28-degree weather, the RISPCA said.
“We also found several of the dogs living in unsanitary conditions,” the statement said.
After the RISPCA conducted an investigation, troopers obtained warrant for Alves’s arrest and he surrendered himself to the State Police barracks in Hope Valley around 5:15 p.m. Thursday, Fevrier said.
He was arraigned at the barracks and released pending a court appearance Jan. 3 in Fourth Division District Court.
Alves also had about 40 ducks, chickens, and roosters; 40 rabbits; and 10 goats living on his property, but the investigation revealed they were being treated humanely, said Joe Warzycha, the director of operations for the RISPCA.
“The remaining animals on the propert . . . they all had adequate shelter,” he said. “They were all in good condition.”
Several of the rabbit shelters had minor infractions, so officials required Alves make changes, which he did, Warzycha said.
The RISPCA does not have the right to seize the animals without direct evidence of cruelty to them, but “may try to work with [Alves] on a voluntary surrender,” Warzycha said.
The investigation revealed Alves was raising the scores of rabbits for meat, which is legal in Rhode Island, Warzycha said, and used to use the dogs for hunting.
The dozens of dogs are up for adoption at the Potter League for Animals and the RISPCA.
“It is quite a large number,” Warzycha said. “Even the seizure of 24 dogs at one location is a lot for us.”
Alyssa Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.