Animal control removes dogs, rats and snakes from Smithfield home

Officers from Smithfield Animal Control and other towns removed 25 to 30 dogs from a home on Pleasant View Avenue, Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (WJAR)

The Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and animal control officers from several communities removed about two dozen dogs from a home in Smithfield on Tuesday.

The RISPCA said rescuers took 25 to 30 dogs from 189 Pleasant View Ave. A truck was brought in later to cart away hundreds of snakes and rats. The house was condemned.

Police also took away two men in handcuffs, including Michael Williams and Michael "Noel" Ramos. They were facing animal cruelty charges.

Animal control officers from North Providence, Smithfield, Glocester and Burrillville assisted with the removal of the dogs, which included French bulldogs and bulldog-mix breeds.

"A number of the dogs were living in crates that were filled with accumulated feces, urine. They were standing in feces. The ammonia level was off the charts. It was very difficult for us to be in there," Joe Warzycha of RISPCA said.

The RISPCA said the men could also face breeding and town violations since they had more than three dogs.

Williams is no stranger to the RISPCA.

The organization was at the home on Pleasant View Avenue last year and took out about 30 dogs. Williams was charged with animal cruelty then.

"We didn't know there were going to be this many today, but he has a history of having a large number of dogs in the house," Warzycha said.

But they found more than dogs this time.

Authorities confiscated hundreds of snakes, possibly worth tens of thousands of dollars if not more, and hundreds of rats, which were presumably bred to feed to the snakes. They also seized several lizards.

“There's no cruelty issues there, but the animals are being seized for safekeeping,” Warzycha said.

Pure Paradise Pets, a pet store in Johnston, was called in to remove all of them.

"There's geckos in the rack behind you. There's snakes right behind you on the floor in the tubs," Jim Arnold, who owns the pet shop, told NBC 10 News. "We've been moving stuff for 10 hours."

Arnold is providing all the reptiles and rats a place to live until the men go through their due process. The snakes won't be sold or up for adoption quite yet.

"This is more of a courtesy from one snake keeper to another snake keeper," Arnold said, adding that he wants to keep the snakes comfortable and happy.

Williams and Ramos are due in court Wednesday.

Authorities said Williams is still on probation from the charges last year.

Given Williams' history, authorities don't want these or any other animals to return.

“He was permitted to have animals, which we're hoping doesn't happen this time around,” Warzycha said.

(NBC 10's Crystal Bui contributed to this report.)


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