A report of a loose dog led to an Aransas Pass man being arrested and charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty.
According to the Aransas Pass Police Department, an officer was responding to a report of a loose dog coming from the home of a man who had previous, minor animal-related violations.
Upon arriving at the home of 63-year-old Richard Gonzales, the officer asked to follow up on previous issues.
Investigation of Gonzales’ property revealed 42 dogs living in deplorable conditions, including soiled kennels, multiple dogs in undersized kennels, moldy food, and dirty or little to no water, APPD said.
“It was something that had be sternly and quickly addressed. There’s no telling how long these poor pooches have been having to endure that type of a lifestyle,” APPD Chief Eric Blanchard told KRIS 6 News.
He said conditions were only worse when officers entered Gonzales’ home.
“There were more kennels inside, fecal-soiled flooring and stuff like that. It was just really bad shape and we found at least one dog on top of the 42 that was, I believe, inside the house,” Blanchard described. “He’s covered in mange, has open sores.”
Police also say other dogs were not being provided treatment for obvious medical conditions.
The investigation continues into Gonzales’ reason for having all of the dogs, although Blanchard said the man previously spoke to officers before about breeding and that “he is trying to create an Aransas Pass version of a sand lab.”
Police are also looking out for Gonzales’ well-being by filing a report on his behalf with Adult Protective Services.
APPD today seized 43 dogs from the property, and Gonzales has been arrested and charged with 42 counts of Cruelty to Non-Livestock Animals.
A local veterinarian will see all 43 dogs Thursday to begin proper medical care. Chief Blanchard expects the tab to run as high as $25,000. However, he says the costs will be covered by a Petco grant.
A court will ultimately decide if Aransas Pass keeps the dogs. If so, Blanchard says the city will partner with area groups to get them adopted.
Update (10:00 p.m. 5-29-19): This story was updated with quotes from Chief Eric Blanchard with the Aransas Pass Police Department.