Ludlow man charged with animal cruelty, hitting officers

LUDLOW, Mass. (WWLP) – The MSPCA removed dozens of neglected animals from a Ludlow property Friday evening. The owner was arrested and charged with several counts of cruelty to animals, resisting arrest and two counts of assault and battery on a police officer.

MSPCA Law Enforcement Officer Christine Allenberg told 22News that the owner of the animals assaulted two MSPCA officers during the arrest. “One of them was slightly injured,” Allenberg said.

Ludlow Police Sgt. Michael Brennan identified the man as 43 year old Dean Manuel. Manuel is being held at the Ludlow Police station on $10,000 bail, according to Sgt. Brennan. Manuel’s scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Palmer District Court.

Officer Allenberg said around 35 animals were removed from the property at 80 Sroka Lane, including sheep, goats, duck, geese, donkeys, alpacas, ponies, an emu, horses and pot belly pigs.

When officers first arrived at the Sroka Lane property Friday afternoon to execute a search warrant, they found a very sick alpaca. “The alpaca was down, ” said Officer Allenberg, “It was very sick, so we called in a veterinarian, and had it taken away for treatment.”

Allenberg did not specify what was wrong with the alpaca except to say that it was a “life-threatening condition.”

“The conditions were minimal shelter available, as required by law. There was no food on the premises for the animals, and there was no water… there was no running water there,”  Allenberg said.

Sgt. Brennan told 22News the police department has been receiving complaints about the situation there since last Summer. “Neighbors and nearby businesses contacted police on several occasions to complain about goats and ponies running loose, creating hazardous traffic conditions,” Brennan said.

The MSPCA became aware of the situaion in December. “MSPCA has been receiving multiple complaints about care of animals, and Ludlow Police received  numerous complaints about animals running loose and breaking out of their fences,” Allenberg said.

There is no residence on the Sroka Lane property, but Manuel lives in Ludlow. Allenberg told 22News she believes the owner was keeping the animals there for the purposes of running an unlicensed petting zoo. “I think he had a traveling animal show, but had no license from the Department of Agriculture as required by law.”

All of the animals have been removed. They are being  cared for at an undisclosed MSPCA facility, and the Boston Animal Rescue League is also helping to provide shelter.

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