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Riverhead animal farm owner faces animal cruelty charges

Cows and chicken are seen as SPCA officers

Cows and chicken are seen as SPCA officers execute a search warrant investigating dead animals in Riverhead, Sunday. (March 21, 2010) Photo Credit: Ed Betz

The owner of a Riverhead animal farm was arraigned Wednesday on charges of animal cruelty after a search of his property by the Suffolk County SPCA uncovered animals suffering from malnutrition and broken limbs, officials said.

Carlo Lauro, 62, who owns Arrowhead Pine animal farm at 5176 Sound Ave., is charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty, Suffolk SPCA chief Roy Gross said.

"Not all the animals were malnourished," Gross said, "but we found there was failure to provide proper sustenance." Gross said about 100 animals are housed on the property, and that several had broken limbs.

The injured animals were being treated at the site by veterinarians, Gross said, and some might have to be euthanized.

Gross also said the property, which was searched Sunday, was littered with debris, posing a danger to the animals. "There's junk all over the place and they could get hurt," he said. "That's not the way things should be."

Lauro pleaded not guilty in Riverhead Town Justice Court to "overdriving," torturing and injuring animals and failure to provide proper sustenance. Each count is a misdemeanor and punishable by one year in prison and a $1,000 fine under New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.

The charges cover one rabbit, one cow, one horse, two pigs, two sheep and three goats, according to court records.

Lauro was released on a cash bail of $10,000 and is due back in court April 20.

"We deny the allegations, and we feel we have ample proof to fight these charges," Anthony La Pinta, Lauro's Hauppauge attorney said. He said his client has been running the farm since 1990 and has a "favorable reputation" in the community.

The farm includes sheep, pigs, cattle, goats, horses, chickens, rabbits and dogs, the SPCA said. Many are in need of food, grain, hay and medicine, Gross said. Those interested in making donations can contact the SPCA, 631-382-7722, or drop off supplies between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Martha Clara Vineyards, 6025 Sound Ave., Riverhead.

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