Exeter man charged in cruelty case involving 100 animals

Rhode Island State Police said Carlos Alves is facing multiple charges, including mistreatment of animals and unnecessary cruelty to animals. (Police photo/RISPCA

A 59-year-old Exeter man was arrested in an animal cruelty case involving 100 animals, including 24 dogs and several newborn puppies, as well about 40 ducks, chickens and roosters, 40 rabbits and 10 goats.

Rhode Island State Police on Friday said Carlos Alves is facing multiple charges, including mistreatment of animals and unnecessary cruelty to animals. He surrendered to authorities a day prior.

The Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said they received a complaint that there were several malnourished animals living in “deplorable and inadequate living conditions" at a house on Gardner Road.

"(There were) just dozens and dozens of piles of feces," RISPCA Director of Operations Joe Warzycha told NBC 10 News on Thursday.

The RISPCA, along with Rhode Island State Police and Exeter Animal Control, launched an investigation on Dec. 22 and learned that many of the animals were also being left outside in the cold without proper shelter.

Authorities said the dogs were "lacking adequate shelter to protect them from the elements, as the ambient temperature at that time was 28 degrees Fahrenheit, with a wind chill factor of 19 degrees."

"No water, no shelter. All the water bowls we saw were frozen," Warzycha said, adding that while there was no evidence that the dogs were malnourished, investigators told the owner that in addition to providing food, they require access to clean, fresh water. "They need adequate living conditions, which need to be sanitary, which they weren’t.”

One photo shows four dogs housed in wooden shelters with chicken wire over the doors, and another shows a dog chained to a pole next to a doghouse.

The RIPSCA said they took custody of 14 beagles, six Brittany spaniels and four Chihuahuas, while Exeter Animal Control and The Potter League for Animals helped with the removal of the dogs. Some dogs were as young as five weeks old.

"Fifteen of the dogs are currently being housed at the RISPCA and nine are being housed at The Potter League," according to the RISPCA, with the organization noting that some of the dogs are already up for adoption.

Kara Montalbano, who works at the Potter League for Animals, assisted in the removal of the dogs from the property.

“They were definitely a little confused,” Montalbano said. “A lot of them weren't sure what was going on, so we were kind of loading them up in the van. Some of them were jumping all over us, but they were definitely happy to see people.”

Montalbano told NBC 10 it took the dogs some time to adjust to living indoors.

“For them, living outside was what they knew so when we brought them inside, they were definitely confused and overwhelmed (and) over-stimulated," Montalbano said, adding that the League has already received at least 50 applications for adoption.

Meanwhile, Rhode Island State Police said Alves was arraigned and released, pending a future appearance in Fourth Division District Court.

The investigation is stirring up a conversation in Warwick, where residents believe another animal cruelty case is brewing.

But the RISPCA said the claims are unfounded.

The organization said they, along with two Warwick Animal Control officers and a pair of police officers, investigated a property on Toll Gate Road on Dec. 20 after they received multiple complaints about more than a dozen dogs purportedly being mistreated and neglected.

"The complaints alleged there were upwards of 15 dogs on the premise, being left outdoors with inadequate shelter, and therefore exposed to the inclement elements," the RISPCA noted on its website. "There were also allegations that these dogs were being illegally bred and used for illegal dogfighting."

The RISPCA added that they didn't find any evidence of animal cruelty or neglect.

"The owner was compliant in granting access to his property for inspection and also demonstrated a genuine concern for the health and well-being of his animals," the RISPCA noted.

Clifford Dennis, who takes care of the dogs, spoke with NBC 10. He said he has agreed to move a number of the dogs to a heated, indoor housing facility.

"You have to keep the dogs in the cold somewhat so that they can get used to it," Dennis told NBC 10. "Six to eight hours is usually what they stay before we put them into the trailer with the wood wood stove.

"We warm them back up for six to eight hours and then we swap them and it's three and three," he added.


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