NAUGATUCK, Conn. — Three men were recently arrested and charged in connection to the alleged animal cruelty that took place at the Black Rock Canines Facility in Naugatuck.
At least 10 dogs were shot and killed on the property, and 31 dogs were seized and brought to a shelter to be cared for, police said.
Now, the community is shocked and disturbed by what they are finding out as the police continue their investigation.
"It's about the most horrible thing I've heard since I've been mayor," said Naugatuck Mayor Pete Hess.
David Rivera Sr., 57, of Stratford was charged with threatening in the second degree.
David Rivera Jr., 34, of Stratford has been charged with conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals and other charges. Rivera was a police officer for the Town of New Canaan and the owner of Black Rock Canines.
Daniel Luna, 38, of Waterbury faced the most charges, such as four counts of animal cruelty and four counts of unlawful euthanization of canine. Luna was the general manager of Black Rock Canines.
Hess told FOX61 he had met Rivera Jr. in the past to talk about the start of his business.
"I had a very good impression of him and his business and his plan which included taking the dogs who didn't make it and getting them good homes," added Hess.
Search warrants were also executed at Rivera Jr.'s home, where police found illegal explosives and firearms, including an assault rifle.
The warrants stated Luna and Rivera Jr. would have one of the female employees transport the illegal explosives to the Naugatuck Event Center.
However, these illegal items were just one part of the issue. Dogs and puppies were allegedly whipped several times which left bloodied marks on their bodies.
"Animal cruelty in Naugatuck is not tolerated in any way at any time and I'm proud of our police. They're very thorough - they're all over it and this will go to court and be pursued vigorously," added Hess.
Desmond's Army, an animal advocacy organization, was shocked a law enforcement member engaged in this behavior.
"It's possible that it could be either cultural or they growing up, this is how they have seen animals treated and so therefore, they think it's acceptable but a police officer should know better," said Zilla Cannamela, president of Desmond's Army.
Naugatuck police are not revealing the exact location of where the 31 dogs are currently being housed since they are evidence of an investigation.
They have received numerous calls from the public wanting to foster or adopt the dogs and they said that will not happen until further down the road.
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