One man sentenced, another charged in animal cruelty case

One man sentenced, another charged in animal cruelty case

SMITHFIELD – After being found with more than 25 dogs and puppies, and more than 100 snakes and rats living in poor conditions back in March, a Smithfield man was sentenced to 22 months probation and 80 hours of community service.

Michael “Noel” Ramos pleaded no contest to multiple charges, including unnecessary cruelty to animals and conspiracy, on Sept. 4, according to Earl Newman, animal cruelty officer with the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Terms of his probation prohibit him from owning animals, except reptiles, for the length of his probation, according to Newman. Ramos relinquished ownership of five dogs and numerous snakes and other reptiles upon sentencing.

Ramos was arrested alongside Michael Williams back in March thanks to a tip to RISPCA and Smithfield Police Department regarding the animals in a home at 189 Pleasant View Ave. in poor conditions.

Police had arrested Williams for animal cruelty last year when about 30 dogs were removed from the home on Pleasant View Avenue. At that time, a judge ordered all 30 dogs returned to Williams.

Thomas Taylor of Smithfield Animal Control said the repeat offense was like a “slap in the face,” and said Williams was given “the break of a lifetime” last year when he received probation.

“I hope he doesn’t make the same mistake again,” Taylor said.

Taylor said Williams owned 90 percent of the dogs and reptiles in the home at the time of the arrest and signed over ownership to animal control and the RISPCA immediately following his arrest. Williams was set to go to pre-trial on Wednesday, Sept. 12, and will face multiple felony charges, including the unlawful practice of veterinary medicine for cropping the dogs’ ears, Newman said. Though Williams was released in early June, his bail terms prohibit him from owning an animal.

Taylor said he was happy to say that Ramos signed over ownership of his bulldogs after his sentencing, and said the remaining impounded dogs can be given up for adoption.

At the Smithfield Animal Control office, two rescued bulldogs remain in the shelter after a nearly six-month wait. One of the dogs, a 3-year-old, is still waiting to be adopted while the other has someone lined up to adopt him.

The house at 189 Pleasant View Avenue was condemned after a number of bulldogs were found living in the crates filled with “accumulated feces, urine” according to Joe Warzycha of the RISPCA.

At the time of the arrest, Warzycha said the “ammonia level was off the charts” within the home.

Taylor estimated a value of $2,500 to $3,500 for each puppy being sold out of the home, with the majority of the rescued dogs being used for breeding, and only six or seven puppies removed from the house.

“He was making big money doing this,” Taylor said.

Taylor said it is hard to discern if a puppy being adopted is from a hoarding or abusive situation, and the best a person can do is research the breeders before purchasing a dog.

He recommended going to the breeder’s home or kennel and checking for cleanliness and smell. Rhode Island breeders should have a license as well.

Asked if he thought the breeders would try again, Taylor said this kind of operation is lucrative and can generate income quickly. Putting one negligent breeder out of business hopefully put a dent into the breeding “circle,” he said.

“You’re eventually going to get caught. We’re going to keep an eye on them. You’re going to slip up, and we’re going to catch you,” he said.