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Friday, Feb 7, 2014County: Hampden
Charges: Felony CTA
Alleged: Dean Manuel
35 animals, some nearing death, were carted away from Dean Manuel's unlicensed traveling petting zoo in Ludlow Friday.
"There were sheep, goats, duck, geese, donkeys, alpacas, ponies, goat, an emu, pot belly pigs," MSPCA Law Enforcement Officer Christine Allenberg said.
Allenberg says when crews arrived Friday, one of the alpaca couldn't even stand up and required on site emergency attention from a veterinarian. Maureen Basile can believe it: she booked Manuel's falsely advertised petting zoo for a summer carnival.
"They were fed raw dough and moldy bread and that was all they ate," Basile said. "One of the ponies was emaciated to the point where it's ribs were very pronounced, and the backbone and it was just very sad. All the animals had fur that was well overgrown, matted, covered in feces."
Allenberg says the property had minimal shelter and no food or water. A search warrant was issued Friday for officers to enter the property, but when they began rescuing the animals, Manuel allegedly became violent and assaulted an MSPCA officer. The entire operation came after several people complained to police. MSPCA officers first charged Manuel with 10 counts of having improper sheltering for horses and donkeys back in December, but further investigation revealed troubling conditions on Sroka Lane.
"It's a health issue, it's a blight on the neighborhood. This is an excellent neighborhood," Sgt. Daniel Valadas of the Ludlow Police said. "I'm sure these neighbors are quite content that these animals are going to be cared for."
Manuel will be arraigned on charges of resisting arrest, assault and battery on a police officer, and over 35 felony animal cruelty charges. Perhaps most important, though, Allenberg says the animals will now get the care they need.
"They can't defend themselves and it's absolutely egregious when people have the ability to make life better for their animals and they don't because they depend on their humans to take care of them," Allenberg said.
Manuel is being held on $10,000 cash bail and is likely to be arraigned in Palmer District Court on Monday morning. The animals will be cared for by the MSPCA and the Animal Rescue League of Boston, until court proceedings wrap up.
- WGGB - Feb 7, 2014
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