Case Snapshot
Case ID: 10169
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: cow
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Friday, Nov 17, 2006

County: Bristol

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Dismissed (Conditional)

Person of Interest: Jose Resendes

Case Updates: 5 update(s) available

On Nov 17, Warren Animal Control Officer Heidi Garrity was dispatched to Adams Lane for a loose cow, but when she arrived she encountered a different scenario altogether - a case of potential animal cruelty.

"I went out for a loose cow and I saw another one laying across the field," Ms. Garrity said. "I watched it for about a half an hour and it didn't get up. It wasn't moving and barely breathing."

Ms. Garrity called in the help of other animal control volunteers to assist her; she had the loose cow, now named Hood, transported to the shelter and stayed with the apparently sick calf, Nubby, until they could figure out what to do. Eventually, both cows were taken to the Warren Animal Shelter, where they were still being kept as of Monday.

Late that afternoon, Ms. Garrity stood in the field for hours, as volunteers attempted to help the calf. One by one, the rest of the cow herd came over to the calf and began nudging it. The calf, which is estimated to be between four- to six-months-old, still refused to move.

Volunteers cleared the other cows away as they began to lay blankets and jackets atop the calf to keep it warm. As night approached, the Warren Fire Department's Special Hazards Unit provided light to the field and aided in moving the calf.

"We dragged it across the field [on a tarp]," Ms. Garrity said. "Picked it up and over the fence and then put it on a pickup truck."

Once the calf was transported to the Warren Animal Shelter it was moved inside and placed inside a cage which typically holds dogs.

Tina Leocadio, the assistant animal control officer, sat with Nubby trying to feed him water and milk.

"He didn't want the bottle. Look how pale the tongue is,," Ms. Leocadio said on Friday. " [The owner] said he was feeding him bread and stuff but look how pale he is."

Ms. Leocadio said the owner of the farm Joe Resendes, of Bristol, showed up at the shelter demanding his cows back.

"He came in and referred to [Nubby] as hamburger," Ms. Leocadio said.

Ms. Garrity said the calf was emaciated - severely underweight and malnourished.

According to orders from Warren Animal Hospital Veterinarian Dr. Richard Mello, the calf was fed Pepto-Bismol. (Dr. Mello could not be reached for comment.)

Ms. Garrity said she is not sure if there will be charges filed against Mr. Resendes.

"It needs to be discussed," Ms. Garrity said. "The report was forwarded to the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)."

Ms. Garrity said if it is found that there is neglect it's possible that Mr. Resendes will lose custody of the other cows.

"It's possible they would be taken away," Ms. Garrity said. "It depends on what happens. Most of the other ones are healthy. We need to find out who his vet is and on the basis they have seen these animals. There's so much stuff to do."

Already the animal shelter has received numerous calls from people who want to adopt Nubby and Hood.

"Most likely [they'll be adopted]," Ms. Garrity said. "[If they are] we'll be very picky as to where they go."

Currently, Ms. Garrity said the cows are doing much better, and added that the other animals don't even mind the company of the cows.

"Their getting up on their own," Ms. Garrity said. "We take them for walks. Most of [the other animals] don't mind. There's one dog that could care less and goes out in the play yard with them."

What's next for the cows

* Warren Police Det. Joel Camara said on Nov 19 that the possible case of animal cruelty is in the hands of the animal shelter officials. He said police will only pursue charges once a case is built, which may take some time.

* Heidi Garrity said animal control officials are working to pursue charges of neglect, but she added it would be difficult. "It needs to be discussed," Ms. Garrity said. "The report was forwarded to the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). It's still pending."

* Ms. Garrity also said if charges are pursued it is possible the rest of the herd could be taken from owner Joe Resendes, of Bristol.

* "It's possible they would be taken away," Ms. Garrity said. "It depends on what happens. Most of the other ones are healthy. We need to find out who his vet is... There's so much stuff to do."


Case Updates

On Saturday, about 15 residents showed up at the Warren Animal Shelter pleading to Bristol farmer Jose Resendes to leave his two cows at the facility. Some protesters cried, others created a human barricade in front of the animals and a 4-year-old girl begged the farmer not to take back his cows.

A day earlier a Sixth District Court judge ordered animal shelter employees to return the cows to Mr. Resendes; the animals had been seized from a local pasture last November when Warren Animal Control Officer Heidi Garrity said they were emaciated and sickly. The police later charged Mr. Resendes with animal cruelty, but his attorney and the lawyer for the town reached a settlement calling for the return of the cows. The agreement stated Mr. Resendes had to pay the town $2,000 to cover costs associated with housing the animals, and had to have a veterinarian check on the cows two times in the future.

News of the settlement was hard to swallow for some people who had grown close to the animals, including Aryanna Leocadio, the 4-year-old daughter of the assistant animal control officer in town.

"Please don't take those cows away," she cried. "We love those cows."

As of Tuesday afternoon, animal control officers were trying to work out a deal with Mr. Resendes. They apparently want to give Mr. Resendes back his $2,000 check in exchange for the two animals. The negotiations were challenged by Mr. Resendes' son and an order from other town officials on Tuesday to relinquish the cows, nicknamed Nubby and Hood.

On Saturday morning at 10 a.m., Mr. Resendes arrived at the shelter with friend John Madeira who lent Mr. Resendes a trailer to transport the cows. As soon as the trailer pulled up, Ms. Garrity began speaking with Mr. Resendes.

"Mr. Resendes, you can take your check back, leave the cows here," she said, "Please. I will buy them back from you."

Mr. Resendes who speaks only Portuguese, would not comment to the Warren Times-Gazette, but his friend Mr. Medeira translated to Ms. Garrity.

"He said 'No, he wants the cows back,'" Mr. Medeira said. "He said the judge said he could take them."

As they continued talking, people began crowding around begging Mr. Resendes not to take the animals.

"They're not for meat anymore," Robin Gardner said. "We fed them. We cleaned them. We love them."

Warren Assistant Animal Control Officer Tina Leocadio was visibly shaken up and locked herself inside the gate with the two cows. People began barricading themselves in front of the fence shouting "This is a protest," making an attempt to prevent Mr. Resendes from taking the cows.

"A man who abuses animals should not get them back," resident Gary Budlong said. "Everyone has grown fond of these cows. This is a protest."

As tempers flared and eyes grew wet, Mr. Resendes, Ms. Garrity and Mr. Medeira went inside the shelter to discuss the situation.

Mr. Medeira, who only came to the shelter to assist Mr. Resendes, had no idea of the history of the situation. Ms. Garrity showed the two men pictures of the cows lying on the ground that day in November. She also showed them pictures of residents in town, including a local day care, who came to visit the cows.

Mr. Medeira explained the pictures to Mr. Resendes. Mr. Medeira then started urging Mr. Resendes to take the money and leave the cows.

"Come on Joe, do it for the kids," Mr. Medeira said pointing at the children who wandered into the shelter.

Mr. Resendes began to cry and explained to Mr. Medeira that he wasn't sure what to do.

"He said he needs to talk to his lawyer," Mr. Medeira said.

"He can leave them here free of charge until he can make contact with his son or lawyer," Ms. Garrity said.

Mr. Resendes left the shelter and the cows behind. As he packed up to leave people began screaming "Thank you, Mr. Resendes. Thank you!"

Mr. Resendes apparently came back later in the day with his son and explained to Ms. Garrity and Ms. Leocadio that they were very upset with what had occurred earlier.

"He said they don't care about the cows it's the principal of the thing," Ms. Leocadio said.

Both men left and stuck to the agreement that they would speak to their lawyer and see what could be done.

Tuesday morning

On Tuesday morning, Mr. Resendes' son came to the shelter and said that they could keep the cows if the shelter paid them a certain amount of money to cover their lawyer bill. Ms. Leocadio said she was shocked, since on Saturday Mr. Resendes said his lawyer bill was less than what he wanted.

"The son came in this morning and wants $10,000," Ms. Leocadio said. "He said it was what his father wants, but Mr. Resendes came back to the shelter on Saturday and said he would take the check back and we could keep the cows. The son is the one who wants the money."

Ms. Leocadio said she contacted the lawyer's office and is having them fax over all receipts and bills to confirm the cost. She said nothing would be done until Thursday.

Ms. Garrity said the whole situation has been very stressful.

"I don't know what to do," Ms. Garrity said. "This is the first time I've ever had to do something like this."

Ms. Garrity said she hopes Mr. Resendes realizes how important these cows are to the shelter and the residents in both Bristol and Warren.

"I don't think [Mr. Resendes] understands the fact that [the cows] are his property now," Ms. Garrity said.

Reactions to the ruling

On Feb. 16, Farmer Jose Resendes appeared in court facing one count of animal cruelty and one count of damage by animals-animals at large. Mr. Resendes pleaded no contest, was ordered to pay $1,945.58, must have the cows examined by a licensed veterinarian, and Warren Animal Control Officer Heidi Garrity will be allowed to check on the animals once a month after giving Mr. Resendes 24-hour notice. Here's what two people had to say about the decision:

* Director of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Dave Holden said he thought the ruling was fair but was hoping the black and white cow, Nubby would be adopted out. "I feel it was a fair disposition," Mr. Holden said. "I probably would have liked it if they kept one of the cows, the one that was in the worst shape, the black and white one, and adopt that one out."

* Dan Paden, spokesmen for the national organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said he was very upset over the ruling. "It's an appalling judicial response ... for the condemnable mistreatment of two sensible and intelligent animals," Mr. Paden said. "We're very glad an official can visit these animals, but this arrangement is similar to giving two abused children back to the man who tormented them and then giving them a days warning to be checked on by child welfare."

Latest update: Cows still at shelter

According to Warren Assistant Animal Control Officer Tina Leocadio, on Tuesday, Bristol Farmer Jose Resendes' son showed up at the animal shelter demanding the shelter pay him $10,000 in exchange for the two cows. Ms. Leocadio said she would not release the cows until she spoke to Mr. Resendes or his lawyer. Later in the day, town officials ordered the shelter workers to hand over the cows to Mr. Resendes. She said town management told the shelter workers if they didn't cooperate they would be "held in contempt." Ms. Leocadio said she was unable to contact Mr. Resendes or his lawyer on Tuesday. "I can only release the cows to the father," Ms. Leocadio said. As of 2:30, Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Leocadio still had not handed over the cows and said the issue would be dealt with in the morning.
Source: East Bay RI - Feb 21, 2007
Update posted on Feb 26, 2007 - 8:41PM 
The two cows were rescued from Mr. Resendes in November, when they were reportedly found severely emaciated. They have been at the shelter ever since, sharing the digs with cats, dogs, a few rabbits and an occasional ferret. Mr. Resendes is facing charges of animal neglect and appeared in court on Jan. 26, but his trial ran long and was continued to this Friday.

The cows have been laying together each night to fight off the cold temperatures. The cows are currently residing at the Warren Animal Shelter while officials decide the case against their owner.

According to Warren Animal Control Officer Heidi Garrity, the two cows appear quite happy living in a fenced-in area outside the animal shelter. She said they are much healthier, happier and even warmer in these below freezing temperatures.

"They're doing really good, now that they're healthy," Ms. Garrity said. "They've gained a lot of weight."

"The cows are doing so much better," Ms. Garrity said. "We're just waiting for the court's decision."

The cows sleep on wood shavings and are given hay and grain daily. Heated buckets, which keep their drinking water from freezing, are on loan from the Blue Horse Tack Shoppe on Main Street. A small barnlike structure acts as a shelter for the pair, and Ms. Garrity said now that they are much healthier, the cold weather doesn't really affect them.

"They're more healthy. They have more meat and fat on their bones," Ms. Garrity said. "Bigger animals like horses and cows can tolerate [the cold] more. They have thicker skin and thicker fur."

The cows also seem to have more energy than ever before. On Monday the two bovine were seen galloping around their fenced-in area, head-butting each other, and even the animal shelter volunteers. The workers didn't seem to mind the nudging.

Ms. Garrity said she is really impressed with how the cows have been doing, and has enjoyed the experience of taking care of the cows.

"They're really fun," she said.

The animal control officer said she is unsure what will happen to the cows in these upcoming days, but said her main concern is that they stay happy and healthy. Ms. Garrity added that they have been very happy at the shelter, eating about 125 pounds of grain a week and the occasional carrots and apples.

"They're eating quite a bit," she said. "No pun intended but, they're eating like cows."

Dan Paden, a researcher in PETA's domestic animals department, issued a statement in December regarding the case. He said People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was pleased to learn local officials filed charges against Mr. Resendes.

"We firmly believe that animals seized for their own welfare in a cruelty case are best kept in state custody at least until a conviction, and then are adopted out," Mr. Paden said. "If there is an acquittal we hope the defendant chooses to forfeit the animals.

"Resendes appears to be either unable or unwilling to provide even the most basic care to animals. Too often, people who are accused of crimes against animals receive a pass or a slap on the wrist."
Source: EastBayRI - Feb 14, 2007
Update posted on Feb 14, 2007 - 11:37PM 
On Friday, Dec. 8, Jose Resendes, of 706 Hope St., in Bristol, appeared in Sixth District Court with his attorney Frank Manni. On Dec. 4, Mr. Resendes was charged by Warren Police Officers with four counts of animal neglect and one count of damage by animals-animals at large. In court, the judge released Mr. Resendes on $14,000 personal recognizance and ordered him to appear in court this Friday for a pre-trial hearing.
Source: East Bay RI - Dec 14, 2006
Update posted on Dec 14, 2006 - 3:56PM 
On Dec. 4, police charged Jose Resendes, of 706 Hope St. Bristol, with four counts of animal cruelty and one count of damage by animals - animals at large.

On Nov. 17, Warren Animal Control Officer Heidi Garrity responded to a report of a loose cow on Adams Lane off Metacom Avenue. When she arrived she located the loose cow, which appeared emaciated, and also noticed another animal which was weak and unable to stand on its own. Officials took the animals to the Warren Animal Shelter where they were nursed back to good health. The SPCA, meanwhile, investigated the animals, which belong to Mr. Resendes, and examined the rest of the herd. They filed their findings with local police, who worked with the town solicitor and eventually decided to charge Mr. Resendes.

Warren Police Det. Sgt. Roy Borges said Mr. Resendes turned himself into the station. Det. Sgt. Borges added that since the department has been working with Mr. Resendes in the case, there was no need to obtain an arrest warrant.

Police charged Mr. Resendes with two counts of overwork, mistreatment, or failure to feed animals and two counts of unnecessary cruelty to animals.

According to the law, one charge of cruelty to animals could result in imprisonment not exceeding 11 months or a fine of not less than $50 and not more than $500. Mr. Resendes' sentence could reportedly exceed those numbers because of his four charges.

The law also states that: "Every owner, possessor, or person having charge of any animal may upon conviction of a violation of this section be ordered to forfeit all rights to ownership of the animal to the animal control officer of the city or town in which the offense occurred or to a humane society."

Det. Sgt. Borges said it has not been determined if the animals will be given back to Mr. Resendes or if his other animals will be taken away.

"We're talking that over with the attorney," Det. Sgt. Borges said. "That is definitely some of our concerns."

Mr. Resendes received a summons to appear in court on Friday.

Mr. Resendes could not be reached for comment.

Animal Control Officer Heidi Garrity said the animals are still at the shelter and will be until the judge determines what to do with them.

"[They'll be here] until we figure out what's going on," Ms. Garrity said. "At the very least through the end of the week."
Source: East Bay RI - Dec 7, 2006
Update posted on Dec 8, 2006 - 2:41PM 
Nubby and Hood, two calves who were recently rescued from a pasture on Adams Lane, now have a home at the Warren Animal Shelter. Inside chain link fences that typically hold dogs, two calves reside, with hay and wood chips for bedding. Workers and volunteers agree the cows are doing much better than they were last week.

The cows were rescued on Friday, Nov. 17, after Warren Animal Control Officer Heidi Garrity was dispatched to the area for a loose cow. When she arrived she said she saw two cows that appeared emaciated - severely underweight and malnourished. That's no longer the case.

"They're getting up on their own," Ms. Garrity said.

She added that the calves, which belong to Bristol farmer Joe Resendes, can now stand up, walk around and eat on their own.

Sue Krause, a volunteer at the shelter, said it's been interesting to watch the calves live in their new environment.

"They're really cool. They rub up against you," Ms. Krause said. "Nubby like to still nurse sometimes, so he sucks on our fingers. Rufus [a rottweiler] wants to play with them. Linus [a Chesapeake Bay retriever], she hangs out with them."

Rufus' cage is only a few feet across the hallway from the calves, but it's covered with a blanket to assure that he doesn't scare them. Ms. Krause said when the cows go outside, Rufus needs to go inside.

"Poor Nubby is very scared of Rufus," Ms. Krause said.

Ms. Garrity said Linus gets along with the calves much better than Rufus does.

"Linus still likes to go out and 'graze' with them," Ms. Garrity said.

For an hour or so the calves are taken outside in a grassy yard that's covered in hay. When the calves are in the yard Linus stands outside the fence and barks until she is let in. Once inside the yard she tries to play with the cows and wanders around while they graze on hay.

"They're really good. We try to [take them outside] when it's warm, we don't want them to catch cold," Ms. Krause said.

Ms. Krause said the cows are fed grain, hay and occasionally an apple. She said Nubby and Hood are very close and do not like to be separated.

"You bring in one before the other, and the other one waits at the gate for you to come and get it," Ms. Krause said. "They stay together so much."

For now it's unsure what may happen with the calves, but Ms. Garrity said it is possible they will be adopted.

No word on whether cow farmer will be charged

Officials have not decided whether charges will be filed against the owner of two cows taken from a Warren pasture on Nov. 17. Warren Animal Control Officer Heidi Garrity said the animals were severely emaciated.

The two calves, Nubby and Hood, have a new home at the Warren Animal Shelter, and will stay there until officials decide if charges will be filed against Bristol farmer Joe Resendes. The animals were kept at an Adams Lane farm.

SPCA Director David Holden said his agency has done its part in the investigation and has forwarded the pertinent information to the town of Warren.

"I brought over our results of the examination," Mr. Holden said. "Until someone is being charged, I can't talk about [the case]."

Ms. Garrity said town officials are handling the case.

"We're waiting for the town solicitor and detective [David] Annunziata to give us more information," Ms. Garrity said. "Everything has been forwarded to them.

"Hopefully they'll come up with something soon. I'm getting antsy."

Warren Town Solicitor Fausto Anguilla could not be reached for comment, and Warren Police Det. Sgt. Roy Borges said the local department is waiting for Mr. Anguilla to review the case.

"We're looking at it," Det. Sgt. Borges said. "Fausto is reviewing it. He tells us if there are any charges. [Depending how it turns out] we'll do a complete investigation, contact the owner. Hopefully we'll have it done later this week."

Ms. Garrity said lab work was done on the calves to see if there were any infections or parasites. She said the results came back positive.

"They are emaciated (severely underweight and malnourished) and have parasites," Ms. Garrity said.

According to Warren Assistant Animal Control Officer Tina Leocadio, there are more animals at the farm where the cows came from showing signs of neglect.

"Some of the rabbits have their eyes stuck shut and urine in their water dishes," Ms. Leocadio said. "Some of the cows seem to have been moved."

Mr. Holden said the SPCA investigated the case by going down to the farm on Wednesday, Nov. 22, and collecting evidence. He said they talked to as many people as possible and looked at all the facts.

"At this point, we're concluded on our end," Mr. Holden said.
Source: East Bay RI - Dec 1, 2006
Update posted on Dec 4, 2006 - 10:40AM 

References

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