A Queens man has been charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty and other crimes after police found 27 pit bulls in “dungeonlike” conditions at his home, authorities said Wednesday.
Andrew Cato, 59, was arraigned Tuesday on charges including illegal dog fighting and failure to provide proper food and water to the animals, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said.
A police detective responding to neighbors' complaints about barking dogs on July 28 saw 17 pit bulls inside a garage that smelled strongly of feces and urine, Katz said in a news release. Ten more dogs were housed in concrete enclosures in a basement on the property, she said.
Some of the dogs had injuries consistent with dogfighting, Katz said, and they all suffered from various medical ailments.
The ASPCA assisted in the rescue and removal of all the dogs, which are receiving veterinary care, the district attorney said.
“Pets and animals are meant to be protected and nurtured. In Queens, I will hold accountable those who choose to abuse them instead," Katz said. “This defendant, who allegedly told the police he was a breeder, kept 27 pit bulls in filthy and dungeonlike enclosures with little food, clean water, light, or ventilation.”
Cato, who was released on his own recognizance, is due back in court on Sept. 8. If convicted of the charges against him, he faces up to four years in prison.
A phone message seeking comment was left with Cato's attorney.