What were 32 dead dogs doing in a greater New Orleans area man’s freezer? The grim discovery was made earlier this week. But the question still hasn’t really been answered.
If you click that button, you’ll see a WDSU video made shortly after the dogs were found. Arabi, Louisiana resident Juan Toledo, age 52, has now been charged with 32 counts of animal cruelty.
There were three adult German shepherd mixed breeds in the freezer. The other 29 dead dogs were puppies, some of them tiny ones only inches long.
The slab house is located in St. Bernard Parish, which was extremely hard-hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Every residence was flooded. As you can see in the video, even though it was presumably repaired less than eight years ago, the house is not in terrific condition.
Col. John Doran of the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that the dogs appear to have died of neglect. Deputies haven’t found evidence of knife, gun, or other trauma to the bodies.
According to Doran, Toledo told the police that the dogs had died for unknown reasons and he simply hadn’t gotten around to burying them.
The video only shows the exterior of the house, which is bad enough. But the sheriff’s department said that the interior was filthy and infested with dog hair, fleas, and roaches.
Toledo has now been charged with 32 counts of aggravated cruelty to animals.
He was already charged with aggravated battery after reportedly beating his girlfriend on July 1. She left him. When she went back to the house on Tuesday, August 13, to pick up her things, she discovered the dead dogs in the freezer.
It almost sounds as if the man simply stopped feeding his dogs when his girlfriend walked out and allowed them to starve to death. But animal control hasn’t released its conclusions yet.
Needless to say, the ex-girlfriend called the cops. A WWL report noted that he signed a consent form allowing the deputies to search his house and find the dead dogs.
Toledo was arrested Tuesday night, and bond was set at $100,000 on Thursday.
Bond set at $100,000 for Juan Toledo, booked with 32 counts of animal cruelty in St. Bernard. Authorities found 32 dead dogs in his freezer.
— Mike Perlstein (@MikePerlstein) August 15, 2013
It may seem a high price for even as many as 32 dead dogs, but Juan Toledo has prior criminal convictions. He was also a suspect in the 1983 murder of his wife.
[German shepherd thumbnail photo by Tracey Patterson via Shutterstock]