A Wyandanch man whose Rottweilers were seized last month was arraigned on five counts of animal abuse Friday, the Suffolk County district attorney’s office said.
Clement Hunte, 60, bred the dogs for sale, and investigators raided his home in mid December, seizing 24 Rottweilers, authorities said.
Hunte did not provide proper care, including food and water, and five of the dogs were “severely emaciated,” prosecutors said.
He pleaded not guilty Friday and was held pending a bail of $100,000 bond or $25,000 cash. It was not clear if he had an attorney.
The investigation began after a tip to the Babylon Town animal shelter, prosecutors said.
After the Rottweilers were seized, they were taken to the shelter and the influx of so many dogs, along with incoming strays, prompted the shelter to shut down to the public Dec. 14 and stop answering the phones, town officials had said.
“Please accept our apologies and bear with us as we get back on our feet over the next few days,” according to the shelter’s Facebook posting Dec. 15. “We have had two cases over the past two weeks which netted us taking in 38 large dogs; add to that an additional 8 unclaimed strays. These are active investigations that we can’t discuss at this time. We are a little bit overwhelmed.”
Babylon officials said 24 big dogs was one of the largest, single intake in the shelter’s history. There were not enough people on staff to take care of so many large animals that needed extensive veterinary care and cleaning, and also attend to visitors coming to see potential pets, officials said.
Prosecutors said the dogs have been signed over to the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.